What’s My Motivation: Getting to Know Your Office Culture, Part 2

Being flexible is another key element to being successful in your new role at your organization. It’s important to know that people are different and are motivated by different actions, desires, and behaviors. (http://handsonmwv.org/docs/Motivational_Analysis.pdf)

Taking these differences into consideration, one can apply the motivational assessment tool proposed by David McClelland and John Atkinson. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this assessment, it is used to gauge people’s motivation when completing a task. According to the test, there are three main motivators to human behavior which indicate that an individual is one of the following:

The Achiever: This person is committed to accomplishing goals, welcomes a challenge and looks for opportunities to test out new skills and improve performance

The Affiliator: This person values relationships, enjoys working with others and seeks out opportunities to be helpful and supportive

The Power Person:  This person seeks to influence people and events so that change is realized

The results of the analysis indicated that while everyone has tendencies that fall under all three categories within the motivational scale; one tends to dominate.

I’m not a fan of making generalizations or confining people to specific categories however, I do see the benefit of assessing the motivational factors that may impact an individual’s behavior which, in turn, has an impact on a particular organization’s culture. It can also help you realize what style of motivation that you prefer and help you use that knowledge to adapt to the motivation styles of others. For example, if you are an affiliator whose supervisor is a power person, it would be in your best interest as an affiliator to know how to successfully interact with a power person.  And vice versa. Getting to know the personalities within your organizations on some level and being flexible to those personalities is another key to getting the information you might need and successfully accomplishing projects and tasks.

Looking at the personalities in Volunteer Maryland, there is a diverse mix that allows for a pretty enjoyable work environment. For example, there is a public trove of candy available to any and everyone who enters the hallway. In addition, everyone is familiar with the love-hate relationship that we have with our copy machine; thus we all can empathize when we hear the frustrated objections when the machine refuses to cooperate. The rituals and customs of the organization reflect the personalities within the office and cater to the different motivational styles.

Finally, knowing the rituals and customs of your office culture is going to take time and observation. With that being said, I witnessed firsthand a ritual that is famously called Dance Break Fridays. Yes, you read correctly. Dance Break Fridays… You may think to yourself, dancing at work? Really?  However, it dawned on me that this ritual dance which takes place at 4 pm every Friday in the hallway actually meets the needs of all three motivation types. The affiliator has her/his time to socialize and convene with others in a social atmosphere; the achiever can take a break from her/his to-do list with the satisfaction of knowing that they’ve achieved a lot and can now relax; and the power person knows that they are part of an organization that boasts a dance break during the work-day…Talk about prestige!

(I am now convinced that every place of employment should institute Dance Break Fridays as a mandatory practice for stress relief and general tomfoolery. Just a suggestion, of course…)

Being able to institute and formalize an office culture that speaks to all motivational types as well as being able to adapt to different motivational types is an essential part of creating an effective and productive office culture. Check out the link above to see what motivates you!


3 thoughts on “What’s My Motivation: Getting to Know Your Office Culture, Part 2

  1. Pingback: Organized Chaos « Volunteer Maryland

  2. Pingback: What would make you wear a fan-stache? « Volunteer Maryland

  3. Pingback: Organized Chaos – Volunteer Maryland

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