Since you can't have everything, knowing what motivates you – and how much – is absolutely essential for choosing the right career.

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arrowWill my motivators change over time?

Your most important motivators will tend to be fairly consistent over time. For example, if you value Intellectual Challenge or Autonomy very highly, it's unlikely that those motivators will diminish much in their importance to you over time. However, one motivator that is likely to increase in importance over time is Security. Simply put, as we get older, we tend to take on more responsibilities, and thus have a greater need to feel secure in our work situation. And, conversely, Positioning (for the future) is likely to decrease, especially in your 50s and 60s, where you value what is happening right now over "experience and access to people and opportunities that will position you well for your next career move."

arrowWhat if I only have one very high motivator?

The nature of the Leadership Motivations Profile limits the number of "Very High" and "High" scores you can get – which is representative of the fact that in life, we have to make trade-offs. Each of the 13 motivators is paired with each of the other 12, and the score you see is the number of times a motivator "won" that contest. Any one motivator can only "win" 12 times, so your highest possible score is a 12. And, you can only have one 12 or two 11s.

Having one score of 11 or 12, and all the other scores in the 0-7 range, tells you that there is only one thing that really, really motivates you – with nothing else even coming close. This helps to simplify your career planning. You are not going to have to consider three or four characteristics you want in a position, weighing them and deciding what you're willing to "trade off" to get more of something else.

On the other hand, an 11 and two 9s puts you in an "in-between" position. You're more clear that the 11 is more important than the 9s than it would have been if you'd had three 10s, but not as clear as it would be if they were 7s.

arrowWhat do my low scores mean? How should I think about them?

For most people, low scores simply mean that you're not going to be highly incented by those motivators. Having a low score on Lifestyle doesn't mean that you'll want to reject a position that allows for a great lifestyle -- just that it doesn't matter to you. A very low score (0 or 1) may signify that you want the opposite of what that reward represents, but this is very unusual. An example might be someone who has a score of 0 on Affiliation who really wants to work on his own, without much contact with other people. In general, you should pay attention to your high scores which represent the things that do motivate you rather than the things that don't.

arrowWhat if some of my motivators seem to be in conflict with each other?

All of us have dynamic tensions that are part of our psychological make-up -- aspects of our personality that pull us in different directions. An inherent dynamic tension arises from wanting two motivators that are in direct conflict with each other. One of the most common conflicts is placing a high value on Lifestyle along with a high value on Financial Gain and/or Power and Influence. Achieving exceptional financial reward, and/or high levels of power and influence, almost inevitably require extended hours devoted to work at the expense of time with family, friends, and other meaningful personal pursuits. Nevertheless, it is not unusual to have this combination of high scores. And, these dynamic tensions are never solved once and for all. Often, one's first instinct is to resolve the conflict by taking a position at one end or the other. But, this only creates a heightened desire for the motivator that was denied, and its pull gets even stronger. You may choose to manage this conflict by making decisions at different times in your career that favor one pole of the dynamic or the other. For example, you may decide to work longer hours early in your career, then later go out of your way to reserve more time for your family. Uncovering your dynamic tensions is the first step toward coming up with creative solutions for working with them. Make your trade-offs consciously, and make sure you revisit them from time to time. Where possible, consider avocational pursuits as a means to give you motivators that you're not currently able to meet in your work.

arrowThis assessment was pretty tedious to complete. Why do you measure our motivators this way?

There are two reasons. One has its basis in psychometrics and statistical analysis ("ordinal" data versus "interval" data). The other is that it reflects real life. Most of us can't get everything we want. And, to some extent, we want everything! Want a great lifestyle? Sure! How about lots of money? Yes, please. Nice people to work with? Definitely. Lots of prestige? Why not? The Leadership Motivations Profile forces you to do what you need -- but don't necessarily want -- to do: decide what you're willing to give up in return for what you want most.

arrow I really want to make a lot of money, and there's a career path I can take that will give me that. But, I also really want to have a lot of autonomy in my work, and this career path means spending quite a while being told what to do at every turn. Will I be able to survive those early years and make it to the payoff?

Not surprisingly, the answer is "It depends." It depends on how important your need for autonomy is, and just how wrong this work situation is going to be for you. Think back. If you haven't liked being closely managed, that's one thing. But, if you've absolutely hated it, that's another. Now look ahead. Imagine yourself working in this position. Are there other things about it that will help you tolerate the close supervision (e.g. great people to work with)? Now, when you think about the low level of autonomy you're going to have, do you imagine yourself disliking it or absolutely hating it? And finally, how long is it going to be before you get "out from under" and have more control over your work and the decisions you make? One year? Not bad. Four years? Don't even think about it.
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