The Secrets To Successful Project or Program People Motivation

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This article will explain how to be more effective leader than your peers, to enable the next promotion to go to you. But, you must first want to be different and better, and have the curiosity to learn and use new insights as presented below.

In your company’s "Talent Management" evaluation process, how well you lead successful projects and programs ("tasks") will be a key determinant about who gets the next promotion. Doing so has many key success factors. One key factor is the zeal you are able to engender in the people executing the task; which is based in the "limbic system" Primal Drives of those people, explained below.

It is our task as leaders to make the most of these deep, all-controlling forces, versus the typical style of staying at the surface. As Jeff Olsen said in The Slight Edge, "Successful people do what others are not willing or able to do."

For all tasks, three task leadership factors are involved for success, per this "results bridge" graphic: Vision (which determines the quality of the plan to start with); your Values as a leader, that either energizes or diminishes the Primal Drives-based commitment of followers; and those people Primal Drives.

"Bridge" Vision:

The Vision, and the resulting Plan, are the key starting points. They must have all of: The right end-in-mind objectives; give value; be realizable; be resourced; and be properly led, including metrics and continual "from the front" leadership and communication. This becomes a "Transformation" process.

The below diagram demonstrates how to "cascade" a good transformation plan deep into the organization:

Within the "cascade" framework, you must still get your project approved, and probably deal with "change management" challenges. We discussed this in an earlier column, based on an excerpt from my book.

"Bridge" Values:

For task execution success, your Values as a leader play a key role in the below Primal Drives of others being energized to actively execute the task. The key Values (and what not to do) are:

  • Results belief and commitment…vs. just dialing it in
  • Accepting responsibility…vs. shirking?
  • Working as a team member…vs. being a loner?
  • Honesty…vs. dishonesty?
  • Risk taking…vs. risk aversion?
  • Brave…vs. cowardly?
  • Giving others the credit…vs. taking credit?
  • Giving others the rewards…vs. taking the rewards?
  • Empathy…vs. insensitivity?
  • Teaching…vs. blaming?
  • Hard work…vs. laziness?
  • Achieving the mission…vs. allowing shortfalls?
  • Being a giver to others…vs. being a taker?
  • Comfortable with the basics...vs. oriented toward material trappings?
  • Comfortable within yourself... vs. needing stroking?
  • Constructively dissatisfied… vs. negatively dissatisfied
  • Magnanimous…vs. envious?

"Bridge" Primal Drives:

Now, let’s dive deep to where others will not go, for leadership advantage versus others.

Also, the "Judo Principle™" (harness forces for you, like in Judo/Jujitsu) calls for us to leverage the below forces to be a different and better leader.

The above Values are the key "bridge" from the Vision/Plan to the key motivations of people located in the "limbic system/R-Complex" (R is for Reptilian) based "Primal Drives™" of the key task people.

Neuroscience Explains… Us

(The deep, controlling limbic system of the brain) "commands certain behaviors that are necessary for the survival of all mammals… It corresponds to the reptile brain, also called ‘R-complex’, by the famous neuroscientist Paul MacLean."—

The limbic system/R-Complex is pictured in the graphic, showing the amygdala (the two red nodes). They comprise 10% of the brain’s mass but fully 25% of the neurons. It is key to the above quote being realized. It must be purposely managed by the leader, both for himself/herself, and for team members.

Many Neuroscientists, and the author, believe the limbic system/R-complex is not an "end," but is a "means" to the ends of the all-powerful Primordial Drive™ in humans being realized. These Neuroscientist quotes explain the nature of the Primordial Drive.

"…neuroscience could certainly enlighten our understanding and add substantially to our knowledge of what are the best practices in leading people."-, 2009

"Genetic imperativerefers to the instinct of an organism to pass on its genes or reproduce. The phrase can be used to describe the behavior of specific organisms or a species as a whole."

Sociobiology: "Sociobiology attempts to understand and explain animal (and human) social behavior in the light of natural selection and other biological processes. A central tenet is that the transmission of genes through successful reproduction is the central motivator in animals’ struggle for survival, and that animals will behave in ways that maximize their chances of transmitting their genes to succeeding generations" - Britannica Concise Encyclopedia

According to Dr. Gazzaniga, Director of UC Santa Barbara Center for the Study of the Mind, "The human brain is a bizarre device, set in place through natural selection for one purpose—to make decisions that enhance reproductive success." (Note that "one purpose" is controlling.)

Also, "…Social relationships ‘are merely byproducts of behavior originally (genetically) selected to avoid our being eaten by predators’ [or today, being beaten by competitors, technological change, changes in the economy, or changes in the law]." - Dr. Gazzaniga (Thus, people-to-people relationships are means to genes perpetuation safety and life quality; below the conscious level.)

Thus, uncomfortably perhaps, nothing we do is "free will."

All is in place to support the Primordial Drive. Thus the brain is like this "iceberg" graphic. The Primal Drives enable the Primordial Drive to be realized. Also, all higher brain functions, including Instincts, the Sub-conscious, Emotions and even our Conscious mind are controlled for Primordial success. It is Reptilian.

The enabling Primal Drives in all animals, including for the reader as a leader and for task team members, are:

1. Safety

2. Self-Interest (including greed)

3. Hope and Transcendence

4. Honesty and Trust

5. Energy and Time Optimization

6. Sociability

Note: We have all known the individual words, but the "third dimension" power of these for genes perpetuation power cannot be overstated, and the powers have not been adequately identified until now for leadership use. They explain the more powerful "Why" behind the "What" findings of such famous authors as Maslow, Herzberg, McGregor, Covey and scores of others. This is similar to the word "Word" (for MS-Word). That simple word actually symbolizes an underlying, powerful software program. The above Primal Drives words are symbols as well, of powerful, "third dimension" animal forces that need to be Judo-leveraged for differentiated success by all.

These Primal Drives "marble" in varying combinations in different situations, and optimizing the marbling is an aspect of the "art" of people leadership. The Primal Drives are a major element of the "science" of leadership.

These issues are discussed in greater length in my Primordial Leadership book series, available from Amazon.