Discovering why you or others do what you do is probably the reason you’re reading this blog. It was also the burning question in the minds of Dr. Eduard Spranger and Gordon Allport, whose research into what drives and motivates an individual formed what we know today as the seven value elements.
The simpler we can create pathways to influence what energizes, orients and directs us to behave in certain ways, the better we can arrange things to make our actions more useful. What matters most is to get started by having a sufficient awareness of how our motivational system works—getting a sense of influence and mastery. Few of us have any systematic way of doing just that.
The seven motivations listed below predict impulse – they are much of the “why” behind our behaviors. Depending on whether individuals exhibit high or low levels (known as consistency) of each dimension, certain pathways will be desired. Your unique combination of value elements can result in one of three patterns: self-mastery, freedom and autonomy, and truth seeking. Often in various forms (there are 27 styles likely to occur), your unique combination of each orientation will predict what type of environment will best suit you.
It’s important to note that no individual is all of one dimension (or element), personality or behavioral style. There are variations, complexities, and individualistic characteristics unique to you that no chart or list could fully explain. These seven value elements will work in concert with your emotions to form desired environments and outcomes that will lessen the tension in your brain that builds when deep desires go unfulfilled.
In their most extreme phases, these are the feelings and/or behaviors of each of the seven value elements.
Measures the intensity for achieving equilibrium between the world around us and within us while creating a sustainable work/life balance between the two. High scores within this motivator suggest a need to explore unconventional and alternative approaches to the world at large. Lower scores within this motivator suggest a pragmatic approach to the world. Those who score lower within this motivator approach matters in no-nonsense, straightforward, and functional ways. Sensible goals with real-world applications are the main objective.
Measures the intensity for gaining real-world returns for a person’s personal effort within the world. High scores in this motivator suggest a competitive mindset as well as an emotional need to gain equal-to or greater-than returns from the investment of your time, energy, and resources. Lower scores suggest a less competitive mindset. Those who score lower on this motivator will likely settle for what they can get as opposed to fighting for what they want or think they deserve.
Measures the intensity of setting one’s self apart from others to gain freedom, autonomy, and specialness. High scores within this motivator suggest a need to project one’s ideas and unique qualities onto the world and others that they may appear different and outstanding. Lower scores within this motivator reflect a more secure and cooperative attitude. Those who score lower on this motivator do not seek the limelight and may keep their ideas to themselves not feeling the need to self-promote or be seen as unique and special within the world.
Measures the intensity for directing and controlling people, environments, and spaces. High scores within this motivator suggest a need to direct and control one’s destiny, immediate space, and the people within that space. The higher the intensity within this motivator, the lesser the desire to understand others’ plights or opinions. Lower scores within this motivator suggest a need to be behind the scenes supporting someone else’s efforts. People with a lower intensity prefer not to shoulder all the weight that accompanies larger responsibilities associated with leading and owning their personal space and destiny within the world or someone else’s.
Measures the intensity of alleviating the pain, trouble, and misfortune in the lives of others at personal expense. High scores within this motivator indicate the ability to see “into” others and perceive their value as greater than our own. Lower scores suggest less of an ability to see “into” others, thus offering a more suspicious view of those around us in an attempt to protect ourselves against harm or manipulation. Some of us keep a “guard at the gate” while others are more open to emotional “looting.”
Measures the intensity of doing things right in a structured world. High scores within this motivator suggest a need to follow established rules, pathways, and protocols while enforcing strict guidelines on others who may not be so inclined to do so. Lower scores within this motivator suggest a to-each-his-own attitude toward the world at large. Those who score lower within this motivator believe there’s more than one way to skin a cat—they live less structured lives and are open to more options and other opinions. They remain independent of as opposed to dependent on the restrictive ideas of others.
Measures the intensity of needing to know the truth about a thing. It reflects a capacity to uncover, discover, and recover all the necessary information associated with a thing. High scores in this motivator suggest an emotional need to gather all the facts and data relating to a thing before moving forward in an environment. Lower scores reflect a more relaxed and intuitive approach to information and discovery. Rather than gathering all the information, a situational approach where one only gathers what he or she believes is necessary will apply.
Do you recognize your own motivational style? When paired with different personality types, the decisions you make and way you interact with people with differing personalities and motivations can create either resonance or dissonance.