Nov 16, 2017 | 3
Minute Read

How to align your behaviors with motivators

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Human beings are complex. What’s observable - people’s behaviors - only shows one aspect of the person. There is so much more that goes into making us the people that we are, including our motivators, our emotional intelligence, our background and our real-life experiences. To fully understand ourselves and the people around us, we need to take a look at what drives people, including ourselves, and how to align behaviors with motivators.

Understanding behaviors


Behaviors can be measured through multiple constructs, one of which is DISC. Each letter represents a different behavioral style: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance. I happen to be someone who would be considered more steady than others. This means I work at a less frantic pace, I tend to resist change and seek security and stability over many other priorities. These are common descriptors for someone with my behavioral style, but there is a lot more to me if you dive deeper, especially if you involve other factors that can help tell a more complete story about me.


Looking at behaviors alone, it’s easy to paint a certain picture. But when you consider my motivators, or drivers, you’ll see I’m actually quite different than the person described in the paragraph above. Let’s first provide a little background on motivators.


When behaviors and drivers collide


Motivators help differentiate people who have the same behavioral style. To elaborate, someone like me with a “slow and steady” behavioral style who has a resourceful driver will be driven by return on investment and efficiency. Compare this to someone who is driven by the motivator selfless. Selfless people are driven by completing tasks for the sake of completion, without ROI being part of the equation. As a highly resourceful person, I always look for the most productive way to get things done in a timely manner. I can even get annoyed when I experience behaviors that waste time. As you can see, my motivators overpower my behaviors in this case and are the main drivers behind my actions.


Given a choice, I prefer to move at a slower pace. But the key to this preference is that I don’t like to be rushed. I’ve learned to be comfortable with a faster pace and can drive projects forward once I have a clear goal that’s SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused and time bound). This helps me adapt my “slow and steady” behavior to a much faster-paced behavior sometimes necessary in a fast-paced workplace. I’ve learned to get clarification at the very beginning if I’m unsure of the direction on a project.


Not so “slow and steady” after all


Another interesting combination that I personally possess is being a “slow and steady” person who is extremely driven by harmonious and receptive motivators. Being highly harmonious, I’m motivated by the experience and balance in my surroundings. Also being receptive, I always have a desire to try new ideas, methods and opportunities that fall outside a defined system for living. Considering my behavioral style alone, I’d appear to be someone who seems to favor stability and routine. The idea that I could be adventurous, willing and eager to live in unfamiliar environments and constantly want to try new things would, on the surface, appear to be a contradiction. But I am all of these things.


Over the years, I noticed myself trying new hobbies. Some hobbies may last for 10 years or more while others only last a few months. I have tried playing violin and drums, painting, kick-boxing, horse riding, latin dancing, rock climbing and playing poker. In the near future I plan to learn Jiu Jitsu, Wing Chun, tango, sewing and scuba diving. While this does not sound like the “slow and steady” person behind my behavioral profile, it absolutely paints a perfect picture of my receptive and harmonious drivers.


For anyone with a similar profile, here’s the catch. Although you have lots of energy to pursue new hobbies, you might get overwhelmed when there is a lot on your plate. The way you pursue new experiences still needs to suit your behavioral style, that means learning new things in an organized way. It’s important to set your own pace, plan out your days and learn new skills one by one.


Summing it up


At the end of the day, it’s all about how my behaviors combined with my motivators affect every part of my life. This includes my job performance, relationships, and my personal and professional goals. It’s important to understand that behavioral styles and drivers are like colors or songs. One is not necessarily better than the other, but each defines something very specific. For me, understanding that although my behavioral style and my drivers may not be perfectly aligned, it was important to find my own approach to life so I could satisfy my drivers while staying true to my core behavioral style.


Below are a few questions you can ask yourself to reflect how your behaviors and drivers affect you:


  • Do your drivers and behaviors align together helping you achieve your goal?
  • How can you manage any conflicts between your behavioral profile and drivers?
  • What do you need to practice in order to create the alignment?
  • What behaviors do you need to adapt and why do you need to adapt your behaviors? 

To harness the power of behavioral changes and learn more about what and why behind behavioral adapation, chek out our infographic - Adapted Behaviors. 

Download this Infographic

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Kefei Wang

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