How to Identify & Use Your Team’s Driving Forces

How to Identify & Leverage Individual Motivation

“People just don’t want to work.”  I’m hearing this idea more and more despite the fact that it simply isn’t true. People do want to work when the work motivates them. That leads to the next assumption statement. “Isn’t everybody motivated by ______________” (fill in the blank)?  

We make assumptions that what motivates us is the same for everyone. While you can fill in the blank with anything – money, the desire to help people, rewards, and recognition, the truth is that motivation is not one-size-fits-all.  

An individual’s driving forces are the “why” behind their behavior. People want purpose in their lives, and as leaders, it’s crucial that we understand what actually motivates our people. While DISC tells us “how” someone will behave, it is an assessment of Driving Forces that tells us the “why.”  Combining the power of these TTI Success Insights assessments creates an even deeper understanding of ourselves and our teams.  

Overview of the 12 Driving Forces

Believe it or not, there are 12 Driving Forces that could be influencing your people at work. These Driving Forces are based on six foundational motivations. Each pair of driving forces reveals a unique approach to that keyword. One driver is not better than the other. The key is to understand what motivates someone so that you can fuel their engine. Just like a car, if you put in the right kind of fuel there is optimal performance. With the wrong fuel, the car will stop moving. 

Knowledge: Instinctive & Intellectual

We are all motivated to learn, we just are motivated to seek knowledge in different ways. Someone with an instinctive driving force is driven by their previous experiences and intuition. They want additional knowledge when necessary. The intellectual driving force has a desire to learn for the sake of learning.

Utility: Selfless & Resourceful

What motivates us to complete a task? Utility provides the answer. A selfless driving force is expressed through the completion of tasks without the expectation of a personal return. It is about enjoyment or the sake of completing the task. Those motivated by achieving practical results focused on efficiency and a return on investment are resourceful.

Surroundings: Objective & Harmonious

How does your environment drive you? Objective people are motivated by functionality. They can compartmentalize their world to focus on the desired outcome. In contrast, others are energized by the balance in their surroundings, the beauty, and the experience.

Others: Intentional & Altruistic

We are all motivated to help others, simply for different reasons. People motivated by intentionality means they are looking for opportunities to assist others for a specific purpose when they see a connection to them. Altruistic people are driven to assist others purely for the satisfaction of being helpful.

Power: Collaborative & Commanding

The focus of the term power is the individualistic motivator. Commanding people are driven by personal freedom with a focus on control, personal recognition, and gains. Those who are collaborative are motivated by teamwork and supporting a leader/cause without a need for personal recognition.

Methodologies: Receptive & Structured

What systems motivate us? For some, their energy is high when they are living outside the typical/defined system. They are motivated by new ideas and new ways of doing things. Structured folks are motivated by traditional approaches and a defined system of living.

There is so much more to understand about what motivates us and our team. The more we understand, the easier it is to add the right fuel to your team’s engine. Tapping into these driving forces can channel negative energy into positive action on your team while making a big impact on your people’s sense of fulfillment and engagement.


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About Amy Lafko

As a Physical Therapist, Amy spent years in school learning best practices for patient care and how to put the patient first. Like so many technically skilled clinicians, she advanced to a leadership role. Spending 20+ years in operational leadership, she had an epiphany: Putting the customer first isn’t the path to success or fulfillment. Rather, the most successful organizations and practices put their people first – and exceptional customer care, profitability, and effectiveness naturally followed.