You may already have strategies for team building, this is another powerful tool to add to you tool kit.
People are motivated in two directions. Some people are motivated to Move Towards rewards or pleasure while others are motivated to Move Away From problems or pain.
When you have a person on your team who has a Toward Pattern, he or she will be focused on the goal itself. And because of this focus they will be good at managing priorities. However, because of this same focus, they tend to overlook or ignore the fact that there could be problems along the way.
The Away From person on your team will be the troubleshooter. He or she will be the first to notice problems associated with the plan. He or she will probably need some coaching on how to talk about the problems that they see. Or, this will be the person who sounds like he’s always raining on everybody’s parade!
‘Away From’ people are also easily distracted by problems. So, they need a ‘Toward’ person to help keep the focus on the goals.
Towards people are so attracted by the goals, that they fail to see what situations they need to prevent or what problems need to be solved along the way.
Statistics have shown that roughly 40% of people are Towards, 40% are Away From and 20% are equally Toward and Away From.
As a manager or team leader, how can you identify whether a person is Towards or Away From? The simplest way is to ask questions. Since a person’s patterns can change depending on the context, these questions need to be about the work place.
“What’s important about an office chair or workstation?” Try to keep your questions innocuous.
Next, pay attention to the sentence structure of their responses.
When you ask the question, why is that important, the person with a Toward pattern will tell you what they will get, have or achieve. The person with an Away From pattern will tell you what having this will prevent, or what problems will be solved.
In our society we are all taught that we are supposed to be positive all the time. So even the people who have a moving away from pattern will tend to respond with a Towards sounding response the first time or two before their Away From pattern comes out.
Therefore, you may have to ask this question again two or three more times. Start with whatever answer they give you. Then ask them “What’s important about (their previous answer)? Or “What will having that make possible?” You can also ask “What will having that do for you?”
Having a mix of Towards and Away From people on your team will make it easier to reach your goals and prevent unexpected problems from getting in your way.