Untangle and grow

A blog by Alison Maxwell

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Using SCARF to understand motivation

Sometime you come across a new model that just seems to explain so much. The SCARF model, authored by brain researcher David Rock, is a model of the basic conditions that motivate.. or demotivate... us. Without these in place we will feel some level of discomfort or disengagement, with them in place we feel energised and a sense of possibility.. motivated in other words. Here's what SCARF stands for:

S - Status: we all need to feel recognised and valued by those around us. Status might come from our position or expertise, or it might come from a simple thank you from a boss.
C - Certainty: we all need a sense that we can predict how things will turn out. Without certainty we can become stressed and unsure of ourselves
A - Autonomy : we like to feel we can make  decisions for ourselves .. think back to what it was like when someone micro-managed you
R - Relatedness: a sense of connection with those we work and live with
F - Fairness: a feeling that the decisions that affect us are made fairly, and we are getting our fair share of rewards and opportunities.

Think back to a career lo-light - which of the above were missing for you? Think back to a career hi-light chances are all five elements were present for you. A very helpful model to share with clients, particularly those experiencing difficulties and uncertainty.

If you get interested here's David talking about SCARF as a model of influence in leadership click here

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The moustache under your nose

Recently I had two very stimulating conversations with friends I've not spoken to for a while. Both have had successful corporate careers, and now, reaching a certain age (I won't embarrass them), are turning their minds to what they would like to do with the last years of their working life. Both still have energy and passion, but want to devote their time to something they find personally meaningful, as well as earn a crust. So the subject of 'what to do next' has been forefront for them.

Now when people reach this stage, what I often hear is ambitions to do something wildly different, exotic or left-field. Not the case for these two. Instead of wanting to cycle the length of Burma (one of my own exotic ambitions) or climb Mount Kilimanjaro, they have experienced more of a 'coming home' to themselves. Both have been appraising the sum of their (considerable) experience and finding that what they want to do is something very aligned to their sense of themselves as a human being and now that they can see it, it seems completely obvious as a direction. So obvious in fact they have discounted it as a possibility and were in danger of forgetting all about.

So what is the 'moustache under your nose' - the thing so obvious that you've stopped seeing it? Take a look at the books on your bedside table, or the hobbies you love spending time on. Maybe that will give you a clue on your future direction