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The 4-Drive Model Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by [deleted]

The 4-Drive Model

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.


Originally developed by Paul Lawrence, PhD and Nitin Nohria, PhD while at Harvard Univer­sity, the 4-Drive Model is a framework for unders­tanding motivation at its root. The model satisfies a wide variety of motiva­tions so everyone on your team will be engaged. Furthe­rmore, it’s been succes­sfully tested on some of the world’s largest sales forces.

1: Acquire and Achieve.

We all have a drive to acquire things, status, experi­ences, rewards, etc., and it is a common foundation for incentive plans. In our consum­er-­driven world, millen­nials and your 50-som­ething reps appreciate receiving Apple watches. We never stop acquiring.

Kurt Nelson, president of the Lantern Group, a sales incentive and commun­ication consul­tancy, has modified the 4-Drive Model for sales. He recently noted “The standard ‘pay them more and get more perfor­mance’ mantra doesn’t work anymore. A note of apprec­iation can generate more motivation than a big check.”

2: Bond and Belong.

We drive to create positive relati­onships and engage with others to fit in socially. This transcends age, gender and ethnicity and comes from your sales team’s work enviro­nment. Reps’ subcon­scious minds demand satisf­action in this area, to fit in and be recognized by the tribe. Your tribe.

The modern sales force is not a bunch of individual gunsli­ngers, but rather players on a team. As Nelson noted, “Succe­ssful leaders look for opport­unities for their people to interact and form social connec­tions.”

3: Create and Challenge.

Our need to create, improve, master, learn and overcome challenges never ends. It’s commonly overlooked when consid­ering what motivates sales reps. An assignment with tremendous challenges can contain more motiva­tional power than an average assignment with a big bonus.

That said, it’s more than just having a challe­nging job, it’s also about improving selling skills that reps need to succeed. “To maximize perfor­mance,” said Nelson, “make sure there are regular opport­unities or even requir­ements to engage reps in learning.”

The 4-Drive Model

4: Define and Defend.

Defining our purpose and defending our status, ideas and relati­ons­hips. Our “tribes” hold immense motiva­tional power. While saving face is one such reactive aspect, the proactive side enables reps to stake a claim for themse­lves. Give them an opport­unity to define themse­lves.

“Employees will fight long and hard for a company they believe in and one that has their back,” says Nelson. “But the moment they sense deceit or feel belittled, those same employees can turn into your biggest liabil­ity.”

Applying the 4-Drive Model

Nelson recently leveraged the 4-Drive Model with a global pharma­ceu­tical firm in revamping its sales incentive trips. The firm histor­ically offered lavish trips to exotic destin­ations for top perfor­mers. However, the company wanted to dial down public perception without sacrif­icing motivation for the reps. After private interv­iews, brains­torms and input from senior leaders, they created a menu of trips so teams could choose (bond and belong) with learni­ng-­centric experi­ences (create and challenge) including senior leaders (acquire and achieve) that were relevant to their team’s achiev­ements (define and defend).

Nelson noted that an improv­ement in each of these drives impacts organi­zat­ional perfor­mance indepe­nde­ntly. However, satisfying all four drives simult­ane­ously initiates an expone­ntial increase in perfor­mance. Firms see a perfor­mance increase of 3 to 6 percent for satisfying any individual drive versus a 36-percent perfor­mance increase when all four drives are satisfied.