What Are Driving Forces And Why Should You Care

We all have a core driving force, or a motivation, that launches us into action and fuels our whole world. But the impact of driving forces, what motivates us, isn’t always visible. As team members and leaders, considering the impact of these driving forces will make a huge difference in the success of our team and the engagement of our people (ourselves included!).

Why Driving Forces Matter

There are many reasons why a team may be experiencing friction. Yes, there is friction because of different behavioral styles and different agendas. Because it isn’t visible on the surface,  we often overlook what gets some excited to work on a project and what shuts them down. When team members are motivated by different things and have different goals, it can make for a very frustrating work environment. 

Here’s an example from TTI Success Insights. Some people may be motivated by traditional ways of doing things using proven methods. The flip side is that others may want to do things in a new, out-of-the-box way, prioritizing unique ways of thinking. When some people want to use proven methods while others want to explore new ways of doing things, the two motivations are in direct conflict, which then creates conflict in the team.

Understanding The Friction

In order to resolve this type of conflict, we need to understand where some of that friction might be coming from. Whether it’s balancing efficiency versus general task completion, or any of the other driving forces, recognizing these indicators can create room for conversations. Identifying and responding to these motivators can effectively manage workplace conflict. When we have language around these differences, we can more easily find a path forward.

Driving Forces and Incentives

Not only does understanding driving forces impact the success of our team, but motivation is an important element to consider in the hiring process (whether you’re the one hiring or looking for work!). The goal of a successful company is to have employees who are aligned with company values. This alignment can be deeply related to an understanding of our individual and corporate driving forces.

As company leaders and people in the job market, it’s important to consider how companies reward and motivate their employees. A motivated and engaged employee directly contributes to the success of a company. Here are some questions to consider for yourself that can also be asked of new hires:

  • Do you enjoy rewards, recognition, personal freedom, and autonomy?
  • Do you like to be rewarded for efficiency?
  • Are you motivated by helping for the sake of helping?
  • Does it matter to you that your place of work supports research and opportunities to learn?

Based on these questions, we can better evaluate the benefits offered by a company. For example:

  • If you are motivated by helping others over efficiency and effectiveness, a Give Back Day or student intern program will be meaningful to you. 
  • If you love to learn for the sake of learning, then you want to work in a place that is going to support dedicated time for learning or a company that rewards its employees with education dollars. 

If these are not things that motivate you or your people, then these perks aren’t going to get them excited. We want to think about employees and motivation from the driving forces framework. As a leader, make sure you understand what actually motivates your people so you can provide opportunities to meet those motivations and keep them engaged in the work. After all, a more engaged individual contributes to a higher-performing team.




People First, Amy Lafko


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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.