The Activation Profile samples three perceived external rewards and five internal drives that relate to role performance and personal satisfaction.

These factors are placed in the context of the past, the present or the future, with self-perception of progress toward personal goals.

Preference Factors assessed by this Profile are:

Factor Name Description A Low Preference
A High Preference
Material Reward
The Material Reward factor assesses preference for increased remuneration or other material benefit. High scores are usually associated with people who need income, such as unemployed people, others who are in first paid jobs, and those who are close to retirement and concerned for their nest egg. But some people who have ample material means still score high. Low scores are most commonly coupled with high scores for Career reward (next). Starts work without organizing time in advance, evolves a plan while acting. Sets priorities, objectives and deadlines in advance, and plans how to use time.
Career Reward
Assesses preference for promotion, job enlargement, job enrichment, more responsibility and improved status in an organization. High scores here usually offset low scores for Material reward, above. These people are willing to accept an opportunity to ‘get ahead’ even when it means a lower material reward in the short term. Low scores are more usual for newcomers and people who have reached or passed their peak. Satisfied in present position but may be attracted, by a means other than career reward, to accept a changed role or more responsibility and authority. Ambitious to advance in career, responds to the prospect of a leadership role, a worthwhile place in the organization, and involvement in decision making.
Social Reward
Social Reward assesses preference for friendships, contact with people and social interaction. This factor appeals to many people, among them people in their teens and twenties, as well as those who are toward the end of their careers. These younger and older people often couple this factor with Material reward, above. Usually happy in own company, not seeking to start new relationships nor to extend existing friendships. Actively seeks to develop relationships and friendships. Responds to a friendly environment and consistently warm approach.
A Person
A Person wants to be accepted just as they are, with no strings such as messages that say, ‘Do what I expect of you and I’ll accept you’. Expect to hear and observe that these people feel good about themselves and others, have self-confidence, and treat others as equals. They are equally interested in others. Doesn’t look for personal recognition, avoids compliments or praise. Responds to acceptance as an equal and to recognition as a person – who one is, not the role played or the work done.
A Producer
A Producer wants to get results, then get on with more and more. This may fluctuate with what the person has ‘on the go’ at the time. It’s not unusual to find A Producer ‘on a high’ when the pressure is on, then deflated by a period of idleness. Doesn’t respond to task pressure to take action, not influenced strongly by reference to work or results. Satisfaction comes from work itself and results. Responds to open recognition of own achievements and commitment.
A Pleaser
A Pleaser wants to satisfy the needs of others by helping and serving them. Pleasers enjoy recognition for willingness and perhaps conformity, but producer-driven managers tend to give the recognition they themselves prefer – recognition for effort and results. With their need for this kind of recognition unsatisfied, pleasers lose a significant part of their drive, with consequent lowering of morale. This can lead to an attitude of ‘If I can’t do anything to please you, see how you like this!’ Doesn’t act from any need to please others, nor to have them accept work or methods. Responds to requests for help or support and to opportunities to serve others. Changes priorities for others, takes on their responsibilities.
A Disturber
A Disturber enjoys challenges and freedom to tackle these in their own way. They wade in to resolve problems but success depends on their competence. They can become disruptive when constrained or frustrated: the troubleshooter can become the troublemaker! Place these people where they feel challenged, but define their responsibility, authority and accountability clearly Responds to difficult tasks and challenges. Seeks to set own objectives and priorities, choose own work methods: needs freedom to operate. Without a satisfying role or challenge, the useful troubleshooter may become a troublemaker. Accepts goals, priorities and methods when consulted or included in discussion.
Pressure of Time
Time pressure drives people to meet deadlines. They may see time running out, with too little time to do all they must, or always running behind. This may be due to situational factors beyond their control, or to their ability to handle time, tasks and people. A high score for Pressure of Time may reveal a source of negative stress. Add a high score for A Producer or A Helper, and the pressure of time may lead to distress and a health breakdown: conflicting tensions — a desire to ‘beat the clock’ competing with an inner need to take a break. Responds to pressure of time. Deadlines and priorities provide push to meet time commitments. Responds more to other factors than to pressure of time as a reason to take action.
Focus on Past
A generally unproductive behaviour, as it consumes energy, effort and attention that could be used more gainfully. But it is necessary to some processes such as forecasting, and controlling —see Planner and Controller in the Leading survey. We need to distinguish between learning from the past and living in the past. Cross-check with results for factors J, K and L in the Activity Interests survey. Considering all of these together may give insights into personal drive and life-view. Low scores are more common; these people are likely to focus their energy and attention on the present or the future. Spends significant time thinking about the past, diverting energy from what is happening now or from planning ahead. Looks back at the past to learn from experience, doesn’t dwell on past events nor expect to change personal history.
Focus on Present
This factor assesses awareness of ‘here and now’ reality. We need people to deal with everyday events, otherwise nothing would actually get done, so this factor ought to be prominent in an organisation or group. People with a strategic outlook tend to score higher on Focus on the Future than they do on this factor. See Strategist, Tactician, Situationalist and Functionary in the Leading survey. Focuses on the events and issues of the day, and takes action to keep on top of things as they happen. Focuses more on other matters than on immediate activities.
Focus on Future
Reviews strategic behaviours, where people visualise what lies ahead, what might be done and how. Unless there is productive drive, looking ahead may be nothing more than daydreaming. It may have a limiting effect, as when people visualise a course of action and foresee it failing, without anything actually happening to suggest failure or success. Similarly, people may convince themselves that they cannot fail. Again, nothing has happened to support their belief but they are carried away by their own enthusiasm and over-confidence. People with a strategic outlook tend to score high on Focus on the Future. See Strategist, Tactician, Situationalist and Functionary in the Leading survey. Influenced by what ‘might be’, actions are directed at future events. Feelings of anticipation alternately encourage then discourage as expectations change. Gives little time to thinking about ‘what might be’.
Examines the life position of the respondent:

  • “where have I come from?”
  • “how did I get here?”
  • “where am I now?”
  • “where am I going?”
  • “how do I get there?”
  • “will I get there?”

This helps us to understand the level of confidence people have about their future. Whether or not they have or can acquire the skills to get what and where they want is a separate issue. A person may be quite positive and confident with only a middle score. See Growth in the Activity Interests survey and all factors in the Coaching survey.

Plans for the future, confident of achieving personal objectives by following a particular course. Doesn’t see a clear path ahead, may be uncertain about personal objectives or the means of achieving them.

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