Improving Motivation and Job Satisfaction – the importance of the Graves Drives

One valuable use of MindSonar is to identify a person’s motivators.  For example, this is important when designing recruitment and retention strategies for an organisation and for individual teams, and when coaching individuals who want to achieve a long-term goal which will take time and dedication.

In using MindSonar for these purposes it’s important to look at the Graves Drives within each profile.  These will tell you a lot about the values that matter most to the individual – the things that they need to get from the given context in order to feel fulfilled and motivated.  By looking at the Graves Drives of the individuals concerned, it usually becomes apparent that, even in the same context, different people have quite different values.

For example, in people considering changing jobs in a particular sector, I have seen some who prioritise the Graves Drives Powerand Competition, and others for whom Learning and Order are the priorities. Similar differences can exist even between members of the same team.

By knowing this and by being aware of the impact of not enabling individuals to obtain them (namely, dissatisfaction and demotivation) managers and coaches can develop a more tailored approach to motivation.  This could be by using different language when describing the opportunities available – emphasising those aspects which match what is important to the individual, or (for larger organisations) it could be about providing a more varied range of any optional benefits available to staff.

Without the information that is provided by the Graves Drives as identified by the MindSonar profile it is all too easy to fall back on the assumption that all people are motivated by the same things. Such an approach can lead to poor recruitment and retention results for companies, or to coaching clients becoming disenchanted with their progress towards major goals.

Of course, the whole profile should be taken into account as thinking styles are also an important consideration, but without an understanding of the individual’s values, much could be missed.

If you’ve done a MindSonar profile, have another look at your Graves drives and think about how they are influencing you in that context – could you improve your own motivation by taking them more into account?  If you haven’t done a profile yet, then why not contact a certified MindSonar Professional to arrange one – it could make all the difference to your success!

Improving Business Partnerships

Working with small businesses, I often come across partnerships in which the two partners are experiencing some conflict about their business. Recently, I worked with such a partnership using MindSonar to shine a light on the thinking patterns behind the differences. This understanding led to them being able to review the way worked so that each played to their strengths and were able to cover each other’s blind spots.

The partners (whom I shall call Peter and  Carol – not their real names) wanted the following question answering through their MindSonar session:

How can we best use our different approaches to develop a more efficient business model”.

They described recent disagreements which were mainly down to two things:

  1. Division of the administrative side of the business, particularly record keeping and the organisation of accounting records.
  2. The future direction and growth strategy for the business.

Each partner completed a MindSonar profile in this context.


IWe explored their profiles, noting both the main differences in their thinking patterns as well as the areas in which they shared the same blind spots. Two particular examples of this were:

  1. A large difference between the partners’ approach to change. Carol had a preference for change (spilt between Developmentand Change), whereas Peter had a very strong preference for Maintenance.
  2. They had similar (very strong) scores for the Optionsmeta programme. This was strengthened by neither scoring highly for the BLUE Graves drive.  However, in his criteria Peter had added a caveat about options of “where appropriate”

The partners recognised their profiles as accurate and could identify a number of things which were contributing to their conflict.  In particular, they could see that their different approaches to change created disagreements around the future direction and growth strategy of the business.

They also both recognised their high OptionsMeta Programme and acknowledge that they were good at identifying and constructing procedures, but not at following them. They agreed that this explained the tension around administrative work. However, Peter could identify areas outside business in which he did use a Proceduremeta programme.

After exploring those and other differences in their profiles, the partners identified a number of  actions that they would take immediately. Two key ones were:

  1. Peter would be responsible for identifying the areas of the business that were currently successful and determine procedures to build on this and which could be applied to any new areas (using his MaintenanceMeta Programme and “stepping into” the Proceduremeta programme that he used in other areas). Peter was open to options about some areas of the business, but not his own speciality which he felt was right where it needed to be.  Therefore, Carol would have responsibility for identifying possible options for general business development, including new areas in her area of specialty that she could take forward (Using her OptionsandChangeMeta Programmes).
  2. For administration and other procedural activities, they agreed that they would consider out-sourcing these, recognising that neither of them particularly wanted to spend the time in the business doing these. Again Peter would “step into” the Proceduremeta programme in the meantime.

Following the session, the clients said they were impressed with the accuracy of the profiles and the usefulness of the exercise in which they identified their own and each other’s strengths and blind-spots.  They felt that they now had a great understanding of how they could work to make the most of each one’s strengths.  They expressed an interest in further coaching to develop other areas identified.

Of course, this is a brief summary, and the partners discovered many other things during the session which they felt would enable them to work better as a partnership, leading to greater personal and business success.

If you work with partnerships or very small teams, you should definitely consider using MindSonar to really optimise your working relationships and team efficiency.  You can find a MindSonar Professional near you in the Registry on this site.

MindSonar F5 Team Refresh Program – Great tool for Project Teams

Prior to becoming a coach and therapist I was a programme manager responsible for the development and delivery of a complex national programme. This involved coordinating people from teams of very diverse specialties: people who were mathematicians, IT developers, communication specialists and policy developers to name just a few.

On the whole, the programme team members got along well and all were really committed to delivery of the programme. Overall they shared the same end goal and vison for its delivery. However, disagreements and misunderstandings would often arise between different members, some which carried a real threat to the success of one or another area of the programme. More often than not, such problems were caused by the different approaches and priorities of the different areas of speciality. For example, the policy makers hated details and wanted to know that the overall concept was being developed well, whereas the mathematicians were focussed on accuracy and statistical significance. The quality controller was seen as a miserable person, seeing only faults and always raising problems and the communications person wanted simply the good news to communicate to our stakeholders.

If only I had known about MindSonar back then! It would have been a fabulous tool to use with the programme team to enable them to understand their differences better and so appreciate each other’s strengths and see their own blind spots. The Team Refresh programme would have been perfect for enabling each member to see that there was no single right way to approach our programme – that, in fact, it was the range of thinking styles that was the team’s strength.

Within a Team Refresh workshop each team member completes a MindSonar profile in the context of working in that team. Using these profiles, each team member gets the opportunity to discover the “superpowers” and blind spots of every team member (including themselves) and to consider how the different profiles might both cause them stress and be able to help them.

At the end of the workshop the team members have a greater understanding of themselves as well as of the other team members and have also learned how they can work together, complementing each other to the benefit of the programme that they are delivering. As a team they will be able to communicate much more effectively between themselves, and to other teams.

Equally importantly, the MindSonar workshop would demonstrate that in such projects all thinking styles are equally valid, and that each contributes in an important way. In the case of my project for example, the meta programmes Specific, Use and Information were vital for the mathematicians, whereas for those developing the overall policy the meta programmes General and Concept were needed. It was essential that the data quality control individual was operating Mismatching, whilst the communications team needed to be running a Matching meta programme to be able to tell our sector how well the programme was coming along.

Some of these understandings did evolve in my team, but only in a piecemeal way as and when an issue arose. Had I been able to undertake a MindSonar Team Refresh workshop early on in project I believe a lot of the misunderstandings and resulting conflict and delays would have been avoided.

If you lead or coach project teams with a variety of specialisms then do consider arranging for a MindSonar Professional to deliver a Team Refresh programme for your whole team. The improvement in the way the team work afterwards will make it a very worthwhile investment.

Building a New Team: Alignment or Diversity?

A colleague from the US asked me: when profiling for a new team, would I want to see great diversity? In my mind that would make sense, but in reality I might want to see it aligned in some areas. What is your opinion?

In my opinion, the desired meta programs depend on what the team needs to accomplish. A sales team is different from a policy team. So in terms of priorities I would say: first of all you want the team to have the required meta programs and values to be successful at their main tasks. Once that is accomplished, you want to have as much diversity as possible. It is a bit like the relationship between towards (achieving goals) and away form (solving problems) in coaching. You want away from in the frame of towards. With team you want diversity in the frame of alignment.

If you want to put it in a procedure (which I often like to do) it would be something like this:

1. Define what the team’s main task is

2. Define what the necessary meta programs and values are for that task.

3. Make sure some team members have all (or as many as possible) of those thinking style elements.

4. Find additional team members how have some task-critical meta programs but who also have some meta programs an/or Graves drives that are distinctly different.

5. Explain thoroughly to the team why you composed them like this, and what the benefits of thinking style diversity are.

6. Prepare the team for dealing comfortably with conflicts that may arise from this engineered meta program diversity.

Good luck!

MindSonar and Teams: Lots of Insights!

It was a wonderful combination: working with a management team that was specialized in Graves’ theory. They asked me to accompany them in answering their question: How to put more effective marketing efforts in motion for the company, with the help of MindSonar? It was a typical win-win opportunity: the three of them experts in management drives, and me combining those with meta programs.

At first, we had a funny mistake about the colours. There are so many instruments in the HR-world that work with colours. The colours of the measured metaprograms in MindSonar do not correspond with the Graves’ colours in the report. The team thought it had to match and looked for the connection. I didn’t catch that immediately so for a few minutes we had a funny dialogue, misunderstanding each other  in our different colour perspectives.

After solving our confusion, we spent the evening looking at their team profile. This was very interesting, because most significant in their score together was:

  • they  scored very low on “concept”. “Use” and “structure” where both high;
  • they were high on “kinesthetic” and low on “visual”;
  • they were low on “information”, higher on activities, and highest on “people”.

This was fascinating because the firm has existsted for more than 20 years. One might think that without much “concept”, “vision” and “information”, a company doesn’t live that long! But their power was mostly in doing a lot of projects and things, and feeling what was going well and what was less successful.

During the evening I asked many questions to activate concept, visual and information as metaprograms. For example:

  • What is the essence of your product? Why does the company exists at all? What is the greater purpose of it?
  • What can you see as the advantage of your products for your customers? How do you see the future in a few global words?
  • What do you know about your customers? Are there any facts and figures to find about them? Is anything measured in what kind of customers the company attracts?

And so on. This was very funny, because as almost always, MindSonar proves itself in the now. The answers were all no……..

We later discussed the individual profiles and analysed who was the best in which metaprogram, and how he could contribute to the goal. And so MindSonar gave them  a lot of input for different marketing actions in the future.

And so I had a nice evening with my beloved instrument!

Powered by MindSonar: Eviont

Eviont, a Dutch NLP oriented consultancy firm, launched their new product ‘Help My Team Doesn’t Work!’ in September 2014. This product, sporting their TAA-system (Train, Analyze, Apply) has MindSonar at its core. MindSonar is presented as an element within the context of this larger, more specifically focused product. This is a good example of the ‘Powered by MindSonar’ principle we like to see: offer the client a specific solution, rather than a general instrument. They have a funny cartoon movie explaining the product (in Dutch).

Go to product web page