“You know, as most entrepreneurs do, that a company is only as good as its people. The hard part is building the team that will actually embody your company culture and propel you forward.” ~Kathryn Minshew, The Muse

Is this something you acknowledge and remember whilst growing your business? If not then its time to start, and if you do then great, let’s look deeper into that.

Having great people within your business is, without a doubt, one of the key factors of its success. But what are ‘great people’, how do you determine what quantifies as good staff? Is it their attitude? Competence? Experience? Personality? And, once you find your ideal team, how can you get the very best out of them when we know each person is an individual and what motivates one just falls flat for another?

In 1975 Taibi Kahler identified five common drivers that motivate us. The drivers manifest in our subconscious and can be the force behind positive, and indeed negative behaviour. By identifying which drivers are predominantly exhibited in the people within your organisation, you can harness the potential of the positive behaviour and constructively channel the negative. I believe that identifying these drivers and using knowledge about them can help you with managing your staff and colleagues and create a high-functioning workforce. 

So, what are the drivers? 

  • Be Perfect

Be Perfect individuals strive on doing ‘the right thing’. As the name suggests, they want everything to be done perfectly. They produce a very high standard of work and execute tasks with acute detail and accuracy. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it?! Well, the negative aspects you might notice with Be Perfect people is they might miss deadlines because they have focused way too much time, unnecessarily in some cases, trying to achieve an unreasonable level of perfection rather than just getting the job done on time. They can come across, to colleagues, as difficult to work with because nothing is ever good enough.

I find it best to place Be Perfect members of a workforce on tasks that require attention to detail and ones that aren’t particularly time-sensitive.  And when it comes to managing any negative side of Be Perfect people ensure that you have an appraisal system where they can be praised for work that wasn’t perfect. During an appraisal be specific with any criticism so they can understand and apply measures to prevent failure next time. Keep the mood light when they make mistakes wherever possible so they can try to let go of their preconception of necessary perfection.  

  • Be Strong

Be strong are the individuals that will stay calm in a crisis. The port in a storm. These individuals will often take control and push through stressful times. Often Be Strong people do not ask for help when they need it, as they do not ever consider themselves as needing it. Excellent! A motivated and non-demanding staff member who can be left to their own devices. Well, sort of. They can tend to exhibit a lack of empathy for others, but this could be attributed to their underlying desire to not look weak.  I always find Be Strong individuals incredibly useful in a team when things get difficult. You can rely on a Be Strong to get you through the rough times, but you will need to be careful that your other colleagues don’t jump ship in the process! 

When I find roles for Be Strong people, I know they work well in conditions that others would find stressful or unreasonable so I find a place where they can step back from their emotions to get difficult tasks done. When you need to support Be Strong personalities encourage them to see where their strength has intimidated others and to help them recognise that it is ok for them to have emotions about things. During an appraisal present them with examples where they show empathy for others and use it as an opportunity for them to talk about things rather than bottle them up and plod along.  

  • Hurry Up

To identify the Hurry Up staff members I look for the ones that are already getting a large amount of work done in the company. They like to get things done as quickly as possible. You will notice they feel good about themselves when they can get things organised and therefore done quickly and will look for the most efficient ways to do things to be able to get them done promptly. Get lots done, fast, what could be wrong with that?  Productiveness is admirable in staff, isn’t it? Yes, however, I have witnessed how this can mean that they think and process information or instructions faster than other individuals within the company which can make them come across as impatient and demanding.  To get the most out of Hurry Up personalities I would place them in roles where there are deadlines and where many tasks need to be carried out. They can often juggle different activities and will be enthusiastic and to-the-point. You can help Hurry Up members of your workforce to not always watch the clock by giving them tasks that are not time-sensitive. Ensure that they demonstrate that they think before they act so they are not diving in head-first at every opportunity.

  • Please Others

Another of the drivers Kahler identified was Please Others. You can identify these as the people who are nice to have around and are kind and understanding. They tend to pick up on body language and are often the mediator of the company, or the glue that holds everyone together. People will naturally like them so will warm to them in any working environment. Please Others are another useful part of a workforce because they mediate between staff and tend to keep things working smoothly in a team. Does this mother hen of the office means you don’t need to worry about your staff getting on? Not exactly, they need to learn to look after themselves too. 

When I need to allocate a task to those with Please Others drivers, I find roles within the company that require tolerance and flexibility of other peoples working styles. You will soon recognise that they will be sympathetic and empathetic and can usually help a team gel well and work together by being an intermediary. During an appraisal with staff who are Please Other personalities encourage them to be self-sufficient and look after themselves as well as others. Try not to get angry with these types of people and help them learn to accept criticism without feeling like they have failed. 

  • Try Hard

The last driver identified by Kahler was Try Hard. I identify these people as those within a company that always want to be involved in extra activities and voluntarily put themselves for lots of things. An employers’ dream! Indeed, everyone wants their staff to try hard, but as a Try Hard personality, they might turn small tasks into major projects because they want to be over-active and they might flit from task to task because they enjoy constantly doing something new. 

Try Hards’s are an asset to any team because they always give maximum effort, and this can motivate others on the team. They suit roles where they can implement logical thinking and stop others from panicking, and they can be the driving force behind exciting new ideas. When it comes to appraisal time for Try Hard personalities show them how they can see tasks through until they have proven success rather than launching projects and moving on to the next thing. Make sure they know what you consider to be the finishing point of a task and make sure they know to get to that stage before moving on.

So, by identifying the drivers that motivate your workforce, you can make sure that all members of your company are supported properly and that they are used to their advantages in roles and on tasks that they will be able to make a success of. If you are at a stage where you want to bring more staff into your company I think it is a good idea to identify which of Kahlers’ driver’s personalities you already have within your workplace, so that you can try to bring in different personalities and create a diverse team. 

MBP business consultancy services offer consultancy services to a range of industries. Malcolm can also be a Non- Executive Director or interim CEO/MD. Malcolm has experience in a broad range of industries including but not limited to the retail and tourism industries and has overseen several multi-million-pound projects throughout his professional career

Please get in touch and see how Malcolm can help develop your business.




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