I was caught by a question Chrissie Lightfoot (the Entrepreneur Lawyer) asked the audience at a legal annual conference we were both speaking at.

She asked the attendees what their PEE-factor was. What rating (out of ten) did they give their own levels of Passion, Energy and Enthusiasm (PEE).

Chrissie was outlining essentials for success within the rapidly changing world of law.

It got me thinking. No question that PEE is the fuel for high performance, but how do you lift these levels within your team? This is a key consideration for any leader.

The Motivation Challenge

The challenge is that one size does not fit all. What motivates one person, can leave another coldly unaffected.

A simple understanding here is that there are broadly two sorts of people. There are those who are motivated by achievement and accomplishment and there are those who are fulfilled by making things safe (ensuring security and peace).

Achievement Orientated People

The achievement orientated people look to gain something; they are motivated by a life full of positives (love, admiration and rewards). The classic entrepreneur, they love risk. Richard Branson is a good example here. Success comes as a rush, a real high. Optimism is their default setting. Think of the American Dream.

Security Orientated People

The security orientated people fulfil responsibilities and avoid mistakes. They seek to avoid the threat of loss, they play safe. They seek a life free from negatives (danger, guilt or punishment). They feel deep satisfaction from, say, mitigating a risk, preparing for a calamity or getting their child vaccinated.

These people are detail orientated; accuracy over speed. Obvious professions here are lawyers, engineers or accountants. Pessimistic realism is their default setting; this can easily morph into defensive pessimism however – always focusing on the worst-case scenario. Success for them does not come with a rush, they feel calm and relaxed, the ease that occurs with “I dodged a bullet there”.

You can even see these two dispositions in shopping behaviours. The accomplishment-orientated people like the luxurious and the comfortable. They like new functions and seek the newest technology available.

On the other hand, safety-orientated people seeks... the safe and reliable, the brands that have been established for many years, have been proven by consumer tests, products and supported by long guarantees.

But what has all this got to do with motivation?

As you might gather, these two have vastly different motivation factors.

The accomplishment orientated person gets turned on by what they will get/gain if they go for something; the benefits. These people are quicker to respond and are open to making good, better.

The more conservative, security conscious person is galvanised into action by the imminent painful consequences of inaction; the likely anxiety they will feel if an issue is not addressed. These people are harder to shift because things have to really be dire before they move.

The approach to take here is, when an issue has been highlighted, to ask, “What are the consequences of not addressing this issue?” “What else?” “What else?” “What else?” and keep asking until the list of consequences reaches the tipping point.

The Point

The simple message here, is that the typical approach to summoning (PEE) Passion, Energy and Enthusiasm is to focus on a big hairy audacious goal, the assumption being, that its obvious benefits stimulate action.

For the more conservative, applying a dentist-drill to a pain point could well be more effective alternative to lifting their PEE levels.