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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Are you really interested in revenue development?

heart hunger head

Then you have to push the right buttons.  I recently sat down with a client, and our main objective was to review what drives each manager in the organization. What makes each unique manager want to get up out of bed and come to work every day? What motivates them…and consequently, how can we maximize their productivity and turn their Talents into performance?

I believe it boils down to three simple drivers: Heart, Hunger or Head. If you had to choose which one you lead with is it an easy choice? What about the managers who report to you?

Heart - The “heart” is a big driver. If someone leads with heart it means that they have a strong desire to help people, and that is a big motivator for them. Helping people feels good. As a manager, that translates into a strong desire and drive to grow and develop people, ideas and business. It is about being a coach and a mentor. This person is happy and content as long as people are growing and relationships are flourishing.

Hunger – Hunger is very different. When I talk about “hunger” as a motivational driver I am referring to their desire to compete. When they have the “hunger” they have the drive to win. They hold people accountable for scores and benchmarks and they bring the team forward through winning. It is about the desire to always be thinking of how you can “win the game” and do better. It is also about a “sense of urgency,” and describes someone who wants to increase goals and objectives and move the benchmark up consistently.

Head – If an individual is motivated by their “head”, they demonstrate a great deal of common sense. In fact, their common sense is probably the first thing you notice about them.  They make rational decisions and have an intuitive sense for business; some “street smarts.” They have the ability to think conceptually and think in big pictures. They make good decisions and forecast easily. They also learn from their mistakes and make course adjustments accordingly. They want to contribute to the financial success of the company and think strategically about how to accomplish goals.

So why should we care? Why is it so important to know how someone is motivated and why does it make a difference?  This matters because your approach to coaching each manager will change based on whether they lead with Heart, Hunger or Head.

Ideally you want to hire managers with a nice healthy balance of all three, but there will still likely be one that is stronger – and that is the one you want to focus on. Start with what drives them the most, and then be aware of and work around areas that are softer.

Have you ever heard the saying, “Oh, but his heart was in the right place?”

Well, just because someone has the desire to do great things and their intentions our pure, it doesn’t mean that they have all the tools and strategy necessary to actually pull that off and make it happen. You tailor your coaching by reinforcing the WHY they should want to achieve the goal (it will help people), and you help them create a plan (YOU become the how to do it).  

Visualize the manager who leads with their “Hunger” for a moment…they are competitive and out for the win for sure, but how does that make their team feel? If they are softer in their “heart” their team may feel they are just a number and are being used or that their manager is competing with THEM instead of the real competition. When hunger is fierce and lacking some softer edges, the manager needs help building individualized coaching plans for each person and needs to be refocused on growing and developing people as well as business. How do you accomplish this goal with a Hunger manager? Measure it! Make growing people the contest and have ways to “keep score” on progress.

What about the manager that leads with their “head”? Picture a manager who is an excellent strategist. They consistently analyze the best direction to take and they understand what produces financial stability in a company – in fact, that is their main focus. Sounds good right? It can be if their main goal is numbers and strategy and they are not in charge of developing people.  People want to know that their leader cares about them and they want their work recognized. This type of manager needs to be encouraged to listen to people, to be visible, and to show interest. You coach around this by encouraging more “one on one” meetings outside of the office. More group activities. You remind them how important it is to connect with the people who will actually execute all of their strategies and plans. 

Understanding the unique talents of an individual allows you to better develop them, align their talents with their responsibilities, praise their efforts and recognize their successes. Not only will doing this increase their output in performance, but it will increase your retention and eventually your revenue.


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Dana Bojcic is a Senior Talent Analyst for the Center for Sales Strategy

Topics: developing strengths Sales