Five groups motivational factors


My name is Alexander Orlov, I’m a managing partner at “Stratoplan” Managers School. First, I need to apologize for my English. It’s not my mother tongue, so I’m sure, you’ll enjoy funny loanwords and oddities in my articles 🙂

For the past seven years, my colleagues and I are committed to teach smart people working with other smart people. We focus on communications, motivation, people management, project management, and negotiations. Moreover, we are the authors of the questionnaire about 29 motivational factors, which you probably already have received and completed.
Let me remind you, you should have got 0 to 20 thousand dollars – some sum indicating whether you should invest in your current working place.

Today we want to talk about two things you’d discover after completing the questionnaire yourself or offering your relatives, friends, acquaintances or employees and coworkers to complete it. These two things are quite curious, and these two things should definitely be considered in work.


The first thing you are likely to discover is that people are different. People in general are very different both in psychotypical and motivational factors.

I personally attended one training session, where all these multiple motivational factors were combined into five groups. The first group was called “Achievements.”

There are people, for whom achievements are really important. If it is a manager – those may be “new stars on shoulder straps”, delivered projects, number of employees, size of the department, size of a budget produced or, on the contrary, consumed by your unit. If it is not a leading, managerial position, but for example, some kind of technical position – those may be technical achievements: when you create something that the entire industry begins to use, or that becomes a basis of all the company’s products. There are people for whom “achievements” is one of the most important factors.


The second group of motivators may be called “Challenges.” These people consider everyday challenges at work important and essential. For technical people it may be some unsolvable or intractable problem: when a person comes to work and tries to solve it, it takes two days and still nothing, he or she wanders and ponders… And suddenly — Bingo! Eureka! — The problem is solved.

Managers have their own challenges. There are managers, who come to work to save the world every day. They come to work and plunge into the raging element — there are fires, volcanic eruptions, all kinds of mess-ups — so, these managers fly around in superhero tights till the end of the day, saving the world within the clearly defined project framework. There are people, for whom this is really important. And, interestingly, when the situation becomes calm, these managers sometimes begin to violate stability themselves — they just need the situation to be restless.


The third group of motivators is “Freedom.” There are people who value freedom: freedom in decision-making, freedom in choice of technologies for work, etc. Sometimes freedom means lack of control. There are people for whom being uncontrolled is extremely important. For example, start-upers — their freedom motivators are very strong. That’s why people start working for themselves, try to build something their own — so they won’t be controlled, and, preferably, be independent.


The forth group of motivators is “Security.” There are people, for whom it is very important that they get certainty from work, get paid on a certain day of every month, and it would go on and on forever, that they would never be fired, and if they would, they get a huuuuuge enviable compensation package.


The fifth group of motivators is “Balance.” There are people, who need work to take not more than eight hours a day not more than five days a week, so they’d have time for their family, friends, and other stuff.

Here are these five motivators:
• Achievements
• Challenges
• Freedom
• Security
• Balance

Different people have these factors expressed in different ways. For example, one group of people may have “Achievements”, “Challenges”, and “Freedom” expressed. Other group may have “Security” and “Balance” pronounced.

You always need to consider it, because when you hire someone, start working with someone, you really need to understand, what matters to this person. Do your motivational groups match or not. That’s the first important point.

The second critical point, you’re likely to discover after offering your friends and acquaintances to complete this questionnaire, is that in some cases, where people put “0” or “1” in “Achievability” box, for example, someone writes: “I want to be famous” and puts a confident zero, — you may use your position (if you are this person’s manager) and your higher level to see the way to convert “0” to “2” or at least “1”.


Simple example: Let’s say, one writes: “I want to be famous.” You go to him and ask: “Listen, how would you realize, that you became famous? By what signs?” He says: “Well, I want to speak at the conference” or “I want to write a book.” OK, now it’s a bit clearer.

For example, he says: “I want to become famous on a local professional community level, to address a community meeting.” You ask: “Is there such a community at all?” He says: “Nope, there isn’t” “So, let’s organize the first meeting of the community! I will organize the place, coffee, donuts. You will write the announcement, be the first rapporteur, and make a meeting website. And we’ll promote it all among friends and colleagues.” So, the first meeting is gone, one had addressed the meeting — and here it is “1” or “2” instead of “0”. And if the person had $3,000 in this box, if it was the most important motivator, you can actually add $3,000 or even $6,000 to his loyalty.

It’s the same thing with you. If you’d look at your factors and determine, what signs can help you to realize if you have reached the aim or not, — just sit a little and think. Perhaps you could come up with a way to convert “0” to “1” or “2”.

So, here are two topics we wanted to discuss in this article. In the next article, we will talk about how I discovered the difference in motivational factors among the people in my team, when they tried to write a personal development plan, and what we can conclude in result.

Alexander Orlov

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