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The Motivational Maps Experience 3 - with Richard Knight

The Motivational Maps Experience is a short series of interview/case studies carried out by James Sale, the creator of Motivational Maps. The Business Practitioners involved are all valued Practitioners of Motivated Performance.

Find out more about Richard and what he does with Motivational Maps at


Richard Knight - The Motivational Maps Experience for Coaches

Richard Knight is customer-experience director of Insight6, and a performance consultant at Switch Performance Ltd. He is a qualified Business Practitioner of Motivational Maps and certified practitioner of NLP.

Richard's Experience

Top Motivators: Friend & Builder

“I did the questionnaire just before the coronavirus hit, actually! I first did it when I had just left the big corporate world after twenty years in the pharmaceutical industry. My wife was still working in the corporate world, then, so I was Friend, Searcher, Creator. Since having done that my wife has joined the organisation so I’ve flipped round now, so I’m a Builder, Searcher, Creator! If you’re a Practitioner, you have simply got to do the Map again, whether it’s six months or nine months on, you have to!”

In regards to Builder, I remarked that with so many psychometrics there’s a negative implication to some of the results. One of my colleagues recently completed Colours and was really angered by his result as “a yellow”, whereas the great thing about the Map is that all the motivators are equal. Having said that, we do still tend to have some hang-ups about Builder and Defender! “That’s an interesting one. You know, I work with a lot of Pharma, and the sales teams in that are fascinating, because you’d think they’re just pure Builder: sell, sell, sell, but actually, a lot of them are high Searcher. They’re selling something that could potentially save someone’s life, so there’s profound meaning in that.”

The interrelationship of the motivators is an intriguing topic.

“It’s interesting though because my Creator motivator is driven by communication. I can’t sit on my own and come up with whacky ideas and new ways of doing things. But when I’m chatting with somebody… A good example is I was putting together a webinar on ‘Customer service through lockdown’ yesterday, sat with a colleague on Zoom like now, and we were going back and forth. That’s how my creativity works. For my energy to come through my Creator – I still have to have that connection piece. So this also highlights the interdependence of the motivators. I keep saying it to LPs: We’ve got a top three and a bottom one because we have to from a reporting standpoint, but make sure we give clarity around how these things work together.”

I wondered if he’d noticed any particular patterns in regards to motivation and the use of technology in our current state of lockdown, where people of all generations are having to go online to socialise and connect.

“I think there is definitely some lethargy now around the use of the tech. But, this is quite interesting, from an employee motivational point of view, I also think there are some positives out of the technology. You’re very much governed by time-setting diaries. There isn’t the chance to say, ‘Oo, can I keep you for another minute?’ You’re very much more Director motivator! You have the mute button; you can close the meeting! But with back-to-back Zoom calls, from an ‘energy’ and motivation level, you’ve got to monitor the number of these things you do in a day. This is the third one I’ve done today, and that’s enough. I’ve done days where I’ve done four and you can feel physically that energy is drained. So, as employers, we’ve got to monitor and set guidelines around using this technology.”

I found this really interesting because in Motivational Maps we talk about how motivation is “energy”. Our motivation towards a specific task can be measured, to some degree, by how energised we feel by it. Are we enthused or drained by the prospect of “collaborating”, for example? That might tell us something about the position of our Friend motivator. We might also be able to work out how motivated we are by a role or work-position by how energised we feel – do we feel lifeless, like a simple action costs us every watt of energy? Of course, this is not an exact approach, and the best way is to complete a Map, but we can suss out, to a certain degree, how “energised” we are in certain contexts and a little bit about our motivation levels overall. So, the fact that technology can be so draining for some individuals is interesting, because it suggests that there is a correlation between certain motivators and technological use.

“Absolutely! From a customer experience standpoint, customers are starting to understand that they can interact in different ways. They can use technology to enable them to hit their motivators. For example, Estate Agents are now open, and they’re doing ‘virtual show-rounds’ of new homes – some pre-recorded, and some live. There are massive opportunities with the tech, as well as issues.”

I asked how being a BP had changed his Maps practice. 

“Being a BP has enabled me to work more closely with other Licensed Practitioners, and to understand where they’re coming from. I have a number of Practitioners who work in the pharmaceutical industry and that’s really quite a big area for understanding the motivators for teams that a lot of the time are spread across the country. The Licensed Practitioners we’ve got are used to dealing with teams with people in multiple corners of the country and across multiple nations as well. Now we’ve got changes to the way we’re working – the use of technology – how that’s impacting motivation levels. I think having stayed as a Licensed Practitioner I wouldn’t have seen that. It’s also interesting to see how other people are developing their businesses as well!”

I remembered that Richard did a talk at the Motivational Maps Conference 2018 around customer-experience. Customer-experience almost feels like a new field for the Maps. It’s been discussed previously that if we can understand what motivates people then we’ll understand better how to sell and market to those people – but it feels as if there is a lot further exploration yet to be undertaken.

“It’s an interesting one. The great thing about Motivational Maps is it’s a very short questionnaire really, especially in comparison to its competitors.” I remarked that Myers Briggs is over one-hundred questions. “Yeah, with the Maps, it only takes twelve to fifteen minutes to complete!” Richard laughs. “That sounds like a sales pitch! But, the challenge is gathering that data but across a very large cohort of people, getting sight of those motivators without necessarily having to give each person a full report!”

“Actually, one thing that’s related to that, which is being driven by the situation we find ourselves in now, is discussions around ‘confidence’. Confidence is an interesting term and one that’s worth investigating a little bit more. What drives some of these confidence levels? The thinking we’re going down is that there must be a motivator around that confidence. We know that the more motivated we are, the more confident we are, and the better we perform. So, linked to consumers, how confident are they in you and how motivated are they to buy your product?”

“Motivation is driving consumer’s behaviour. So, the example I always give is around supermarkets and price and product type or quality. That has been overtaken by ‘how easy is it for me to access’? The motivators of consumers have drastically changed. People no longer buy small bags of flour, they buy sacks of the stuff. It’s the environment we’re in that is driving these emotions. This is a massive opportunity from a Mapping community perspective, because of the intensity of the “peaks” and “troughs” - high motivation and low motivation. The Map profiles that we will see during this time will be completely different to ones we normally see!”

Richard's Top Tip

"The organisations that are really going to thrive out of this are the ones that recognise there are certain people who can work remotely, and there are certain people who can’t. It’s all about energy. If I haven’t got it, if I’m sat at home with low motivation, I’m not going to be able to operate effectively. It just underlines what a massive opportunity this is."

I remarked that, as a BP, he had the added responsibility of the LPs to consider.

“I’ve got training-providers, one-man-bands. Some of them are very much closing down. The communication piece that we’ve been having with them has been affected quite a bit. You have to step up a little bit more to engage people in those conversations about motivation. It’s not something that businesses immediately think ‘we need to invest in’. However, I think it does highlight the effectiveness of the Maps in this environment. I’m having conversations with Practitioners around how you can work with your client around motivation when they’ve got their teams furloughed, or waiting to come back to work. I had an interesting conversation with a Practitioner the other day and they said they’re now beginning to see discrepancies between furloughed people and those who are back at work. There’s a bit of resentment and a drop in motivation in those people at work. And even if they like being around people and doing stuff, they’re looking around and seeing people who are getting 80 or even 100 percent of their salary for effectively doing nothing. So, actually, there’s not a better time to talk about motivation!”

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