WHAT MAKES US TICK?!

In essence we are all social creatures. We all want to fit in and to belong. Throughout history we have enhanced our chances for survival by collectively sharing things as resources, knowledge and workloads. Isolation or rejection from a group could have decreased our survival chances.

As a result our brain is highly aware of the ongoing social status and possible threats or rewards to this. It interprets our social interactions through the same neural pathways and chemical reactions that are commonly used for pleasure and pain. For example, when our brain recognizes potential rewards from a social interaction, it triggers the approach (reward) response and releases chemicals along the same neural pathways associated with pleasure, making us feel physically good. When we feel rejected, taken advantage of, or think that our social status is under threat, our brain triggers the avoid (threat) response and activate the same pathways that tell us we are in physical pain

Throughout time our brain has evolved to a pattern-recognition machine that is constantly trying to predict the consequences of our social interactions with others in order for us to be able to anticipate adequately on potential danger due to a drop in social status, or a rejection from others. We need to know if things are working in our favour or when our social status maybe under threat.

Today the workplace is one of the biggest social environments the brain experiences.

HOW OUR BRAIN PERCEIVES OUR WORKING PLACE

BRAIN STUDIES REVEAL 5 OVERARCHING MOTIVATIONAL DRIVERS THAT HELP US TO CREATE A SENSE OF CERTAINTY IN A SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT

In his whitepaper (SCARF: a brain-based model for collaborating with and influencing others), Dr. David Rock describes the SCARF-Model and the 5 domains of social experience and emotional needs that can activate a reward or a threat response in a social situation, and that sub-consciously govern much of our behaviour: Security, Relatedness, Autonomy, Status and Fairness. These 5 overarching motivational drivers enable us to draw conscious awareness to otherwise non conscious processes, and helps:

  • To analyze and to understand what triggers the reward or a threat response
  • To solve social conflicts
  • To predict our social behaviour
  • To design interactions to minimize threats
  • To stimulate desired behaviour by tapping into internal rewards

SITUATIONS AND INTERACTIONS THAT FULFIL OUR MOTIVATIONAL DRIVERS PROVIDE A SENSE OF FULFILMENT AND STIMULATE US TO ENGAGE (APPROACH)

The reward (approach) and the threat (avoid) response is an overarching survival mechanism designed to help people to stay alive by quickly and easily remembering what is good and bad in the environment, and whether something should be approached or avoided.

The approach (reward) response

When a person encounters a stimulus that fulfills his motivational drivers, underlying emotional needs and personal goals, their brain tags this stimulus as ‘good’, after which he will be likely to engage in this stimulus (approach), experience positive emotions and in general will perform better overall (+30%!). 

The avoid (threat) response

When a person encounters a stimulus that prevents him from fulfilling his motivational drivers underlying emotional needs and personal goals, their brain tags this stimulus as a threat, after which he will be likely disengage from this stimulus and perform less (-/- 30%!).

BY ASSESSING OUR VALUES WE CAN REVEAL OUR MOTIVATIONAL DRIVERS

Throughout time we all develop our own (and often unique) strategy to enhance our social status. The combination of our genes, experiences and the situation we are in determine which emotional needs are dominant and which of these 5 overarching motivational drivers govern our behaviour. These drivers influence what we value and our create our values. These values represent our beliefs about what does and does not fulfil our emotional needs, and form the rules by which we make decisions about right and wrong, should and shouldn’t, good and bad. They influence every decision and move we make, even to the point of how we choose to make our decisions (Rue, 2001). They are the essence of who we are as human beings. By assessing and analyzing our values we can learn more about the strategy we developed and apply to enhance our social status and the motivational drivers that play an essential role in this strategy. 

In the Personal Drive Scan the 5 overarching motivational drivers are operationalized into 27 universal and timeless values which are carefully selected from the value models of Maslow, Barrett, Rokeach, Schwarz, Reiss, Fransen, Van der Vorst and Vyncke, and form a complete and valid representation of our total value scope. The scan measures which of these 27 values we consider the most and least important, and quickly reveals how we score on each of the 5 motivational drivers.

A GOOD UNDERSTANDING OF THE MOTIVATIONAL DRIVER(S) THAT MAKE(S) YOU TICK HELPS TO CREATE A SITUATION AT WORK OR TO FIND A (NEW) JOB THAT FULFILLS YOUR EMOTIONAL NEEDS AND THAT STIMULATES YOU TO GET THE BEST OUT OF YOURSELF

A good understanding of our personal strategy that we developed to enhance our social status and the motivational drivers that play an essential part in this strategy is the first step in improving our emotional intelligence. It increases our awareness of the mental needs that drive our emotions, motivation and behaviour and -more importantly- it helps us to control them:

  • Understand what you long for and need in order to be happy at work and in your relationship(s)
  • Spot the approach (reward) and avoid (threat) response as it is being triggered from yourself and your colleagues
  • Analyze why you and your colleagues feel unhappy and are not motivated to engage and to perform
  • Increase your self-awareness and the awareness of your colleagues and learn which of the underlying emotional needs triggered this response
  • Make better predictions with regards to what will (and will not) fulfil your emotional needs and the mental needs of your colleagues
  • Create and maintain a situation at work that fulfils our inner drive and that encourages you as well as your colleagues to perform at their best
  • Fine-tune your search for a (new) job that fulfils our inner drive
  • Help candidates to find a job that helps them to fulfil their motivational drivers and personal goals
  • Reduce and solve internal conflicts