The Six Types of Motivation

Chris Young of The Rainmaker Group left a comment on the syndication of my blog over at Brazen Careerist that offered an interesting perspective on what really motivates people. I wanted to share it with everyone here:

The short answer is not everyone is motivated by the same things. I have found that there are 6 major “types” of motivators. With each type of motivator, I am including an example of an activity or reward that can motivate the person more appropriately.

1. Utilitarian – motivation for money as well as efficiency. People high in this particular value are more “careful” with how they spend their time, energy, and may want to make more money. $1000 in cash may motivate.

2. Knowledge – motivation to learn, to understand the “truth” about something. People with a high knowledge “factor” may want to spend more time learning. The reward may be to actually send them to additional learning opportunities as a reward. Literally a reward for learning and completing a test may be additional learning. A $1000 learning program may motivate.

3. Social – motivation to help others. A proper reward for someone with a high Social motivator may be to give them a day off to give back to the community. A $1000 donated to a desired cause may motivate.

4. Aesthetic – motivation for nice things, surroundings, clothing, life-fulfillment. A reward for someone with a high Aesthetic may be to give them a pass to an art gallery, a gift certificate to a high-end clothing store, a home-decorating gift card, or a pass to bungee jumping. A $1000 membership to several museums may motivate.

5. Power – motivation to control one’s own destiny as well as the destiny of others. A way to motivate someone with a higher power motivation is to let them lead a project, lead others, or perhaps a gift certificate for professional career planning. A $1000 investemnt in leadership development may motivate.

6. Tradition – motivation to live one’s life according to a set standard. Depending upon one’s beliefs, a person may be motivated by their specific belief system and any type of respect of or recognition of this belief system. A $1000 donation to someone’s belief system may motivate.

The assumption that money motivates everyone is not a true assumption. In fact one person’s motivations may offend another person. There are resources one may use to identify what motivates someone. At the very least, the best thing to do is create a short survey specific to each person to identify what best motivates them. In other words – ask – do not assume.

Thank you Chris for your insightful comments.

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13 responses »

  1. I found this post to be humorous. I’m not sure it was supposed to be. This is because it said that money does not motivate everyone, then it used a $1000 donation as a stand-in for all six types of people.

    So in other words money _can_ motivate everyone.

    I think that money motivates more than ever today because the way the system works. That is, there is no way to get food unless you have money. Therefore, you will starve to death unless you conform in some way.

    People who try to eat without plugging into the money system are looked down upon such as freegans.

    I think that this will change due to the renaissance in farming. There are places you can work for room and board. There are people who are getting into bartering. There are people with their own farms. Finally, a way to see if it really is money or the fact that we need to eat and sleep at least once every 24 hours or feel fairly uncomfortable.

  2. I think I’m motivated by curiosity…how do we do things? how can we make them better? But I’m also a sucker for passion. If someone shows a genuine passion for whatever they’re working on, it’s usually hard for me not be motivated.

  3. I think the topic needs to be a little more serious when it talks of motivation cause it left me pretty uncovinced, though i kept it for a later read when i read the title…….

  4. Just came across this post, a few things to note:

    On money as a motivator. Money doesn’t always motivate people past a certain point. Not having enough money can be a demotivator, but for some, once you hit a certain point, an additional sum isn’t necessarily going to push someone to the next level.

    And the six types of motivation, this is actually taken from the Personal Interests, Attitudes and Values Profile (PIAV). It’s important to note that this isn’t just in terms of reward, but in terms of what people like.

    The company I work for actually uses this test to help people become more self-aware. For example, my highest motivators are the Theoretical (knowledge in the article above), Utilitarian, and Individualistic (power in the post above). The true definition of that is more along the lines that I’m someone who enjoys an intellectual challenge, am focused on results, and likes to control my own destiny. So if you want to motivate me on a project, don’t give me the reward of a training course or cash, but make sure it’s a project where I can challenge myself, have a clear end goal, and give me the resources and authority to let me get my job done.

    The PIAV works much better in that light, rather than trying to think of rewards. It allows you to structure things so that the projects are motivating in and of themselves, as opposed to so boring or against your motivators that you need a light at the end of the tunnel.

  5. I agree with everything said here and in addition three are other reasons that are equally as important. How about sense of accomplishment? This is not the same as power, but it is a sense of bring something to fruition. Passion is extremely important. If you enjoy something, you will be motivated about starting the work or continuing it.

  6. Please explore Authentic-Systems and discover a very unique view of motivation. Authentic Systems offers a new paradigm that is currently enjoying popularity in the professional arenas of sales, psychology, family therapy and business counselors.

    Any viable theory of motivation must have the capacity for global application. That is, if it can motivate a Wall Street broker and also motivate a Nebraska farmer or a native to the Amazonian forest, it qualifies as a potential Authentic Motivator.

    As far as money is concerned, even wealthy people state that “it’s never about the money.” Rather, what motivates them is expressing their Authentic or essential Identity just as the rest of us. We are all in relationship with money as a tool of expression.

    Mother Teresa expressed motivation in helping the disadvantaged. Money for her came in the form of donations for humanitarian causes. However, her unique expression is not the type promoted by the Sales Training Industry because it is not conducive to selling “things” like cars and computers.

    Tony Robbins also expresses motivation but through his Motivational Seminars. Tony enjoys the support of big business because his style does lead to sales.

    Authentic Systems is related to these terms but in a very different way:

    Utilitarians are those who find Family as a Primary Motivator. Money is only a tool.

    Knowledge is often a Primary Motivator however, these people need to know for the sake of knowing only. Truth is seldom a factor. These people never stop learning.

    Socially aware people are motivated to Support, Guide or Lead others as Primary Motivators.

    Aesthetics is enjoyed by everyone and is a natural state shared by us all. It is not in itself a motivator but again a tool of expression.

    All Primary Motivators are designed to generate Power. Mother Teresa most likely enjoyed more Global Power than Tony Robbins.

    We are all motivated by our belief systems. In fact, our unique belief system is responsible for our unique behavior and interpretation of daily life.

  7. there are many types of the motivation. among them, the important are the external,interanal,economicand non economic,financialand non financial,etc.

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