Hierarchy of Motivation© Workshop



The one-day Motivation Workshop assists each participant in creating their unique Hierarchy of Motivation© linked to their organization’s strategy, their job or their guiding principles (personal purpose). The participants will receive a workbook and mini-guide. We will go through each layer of the Hierarchy of Motivation© with this structure:

  • A presentation about how each layer (energy, needs, talents, purpose) influence our ability to be the best version of ourselves
  • Peer coaching where they facilitate each other’s self-awareness and learning
  • Sharing learning in the group

Energy Segment (2 hours)

 The objective of the energy segment is to provide insight into the things that drain our energy in our daily work and what to do about it. We are at the first level of the Hierarchy of Motivation©.

Energy is the foundation of all activity - both mental and physical. The better we are at identifying and work to eliminate the things that drain our energy, the more we increase our effectiveness. Thus, improving our ability to meet our longer-term goals. 

Research shows that 80% of what drains our energy has to do with external factors such as other people’s behaviour, decisions made by others, or circumstantial limitations. Unfortunately, these factors are almost always beyond our control. Motivation, engagement and, ultimately, our success rests on our ability to identify what is blocking our success, determine our ultimate goals, and to generate options and possible actions — taking charge of the things we CAN control. 

The outcome of the Energy Segment

As a result of this segment, participants will understand:

  • The impact their energy drainers have on their performance 
  • How to shift the focus from being stuck to what they can influence? 
  • How to generate options to minimize or eliminate these energy drainers 
  • Develop and commit to specific actions to increase the participant’s energy

Needs Segment (2 Hours)

We work with the result from the Motivation Factor Indicator (MFI) that puts words to the individual top 5 Needs and Talents. The MFI provides the individual with profound insight into their own. They will also begin to appreciate the needs and talents of others and how others might impact their behaviour.

The objective of the need workshop is to provide insight into the needs and the relationship between their needs and their behaviour. We are at the second level in the Hierarchy of Motivation©. 

Our ability to recognize and respond to our own and others' needs is not only essential to motivation; it is also an important way to prevent stress. We often feel our needs are unmet, and the more frequently our needs are threatened, the higher the state of mental distress. 

In addition to the above, understanding and managing our needs have a further impact on our development. When the brain perceives a threat, it releases the stress hormone cortisol in addition to adrenaline. This cocktail shuts down the neurons that enable us to store new information and absorb new knowledge. Though we feel we are quick to act when we are frightened or angry, our learning skills and ability to change will be restricted. By understanding our needs and those of others, we are better able to apply our brainpower to learn, grow and manage change. 

The outcome of the Needs Segment

As a result of this segment, participants will understand:

  • The link between their needs and behaviour 
  • The connection between the behaviour they dislike      in others and their own needs and behaviours 
  • Their own and others’ motives for acting as they      do 
  • How their behaviour is a “strategy” – whether      appropriate or inappropriate – that they use for getting their needs      fulfilled
  • Ways to modify those strategies to become more productive      and to reduce stress
  • How the individual needs help or prevent them      from supporting their job or guiding principles?

Talent Segment (2 Hours)

The objective of the talent segment is to discover ways to apply participants Talents to support their job or guiding principles. It is to identify and leverage their natural talents to build new skills and competencies. We are now at the third level in the Hierarchy of Motivation©.

Our ability to learn, grow professionally and maintain long-term motivation depends on how effectively we leverage our Talents. Once we understand the value of utilizing our Talents and are actively applying them, our focus then naturally turns to facilitate and incorporating the Talents of others, which in turn boosts team productivity, innovation and performance. 

Organizations can generate much greater capacity and higher levels of engagement with individuals who more actively employ their Talents in their everyday life and work. Talents, together with Needs, form our most significant intrinsic motivating factors.

The outcome of the Talents Segment

As a result of this segment, participants will:

  • Uncover their natural Talents 
  • Discover ways to apply those Talents to support their job or guiding principles
  • Note the overuse or over-reliance on Talents
  • Identify ways to leverage Talents for personal and team development 
  • Awareness about how the feed-back link back to their talents

Purpose Segment (2 Hours)

The objective of the purpose segment is to put it all together. We are now at the fourth level in the Hierarchy of Motivation©. To have a purpose, “The Why” is to contribute to something greater than our selves. A purpose is something never-ending, that doesn’t have a deadline, and which is not attainable in and of itself.


Essential to one’s purpose is the incorporation of one’s energy enhancers. Energy enhancers are those activities or contributions that give people satisfaction, gratification, or a sense of accomplishment by engaging in them. Energy enhancers are the things about one’s work that give positive meaning. Being aware of and incorporating them into one’s purpose results in a powerful cocktail for intrinsic motivation. 

The outcome of Purpose Segment

As a result of this segment, participants will:

  • Work on and define their Hierarchy of Motivation
  • Develop a deeper connection between individual  contribution and motivation regarding their job or guiding principles


Motivation Matters

Not all motivated employees are top performers, but top performers are always motivated. When employees are motivated, companies are 20% more profitable. They also have 57% less absenteeism. What are you doing to improve the motivation of your employees? 

What Motivates Us

Extrinsic and intrinsic factors contribute to people’s motivation. Most employers focus on extrinsic motivators like salary, rewards, bonuses and other perks. After all, those are the factors that are relatively easy to understand, tangible and easy to implement. According to the research of Fredrick Herzberg, these are “hygienic factors,” and without them, people are unhappy. Another key point of Herzberg’s research is that the effects wear off, so satisfaction is temporary. Although providing extrinsic factors is necessary, they are not sufficient.

We must look at intrinsic factors to drive motivation. According to Daniel Pink in his book “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Really Motivates Us,” personal mastery, purpose and autonomy motivate us. These are factors which are unique to the individual. Daniel Pink encourages us to have conversations to help identify these factors for our employees. For most of us, having these conversations is not easy. 


What Research Shows

Recent advancements in neuropsychology have resulted in new tools to measure and manage motivation. In the book, The Motivated Brain, Helle Bundgaard and Jefferson Roy describe how we can manage those factors to increase our motivation. To help us conceptualize these factors, they developed the Hierarchy of Motivation©, with four levels in the hierarchy, energy, needs, talent and purpose. The more we can manage the lower levels and focus on energy at the higher levels, the more motivation and happiness we will experience.

The first level is Energy. We can manage our energy levels by addressing factors that drain our energy. Examples of energy drainers are people who blame others, negative people, people that lack creativity or resourcefulness. Although most energy drainers are outside of our control, there are strategies we can use to manage them more effectively to increase our energy.

The second level is Needs. We all have needs that when met, help us feel relaxed and open to learning. When we have unmet needs, we are anxious and over time, become physically tired or burned out. Examples of needs are respect, recognition, control, freedom, being heard, etc. Once we are aware of our needs, we are better able to ensure they are met, creating space for us to be open to learning. 

The third level is Talents. We all have talents or areas of strength where we excel. When we use our talents fully, we become energized and focused — our ability to learn increases as well as our overall engagement. Developing our talents increase our feelings of satisfaction and release our “happy” hormones, including dopamine and serotonin. 

At the top of the hierarchy is Purpose. When we manage our energy, meet our needs, and we are utilizing our talents towards something we care deeply about (purpose) we are highly motivated. We are in our peak state to contribute and grow.  


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InSync Executive Coaching

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

(416) 805-2769


Open today

09:00 a.m. – 05:00 p.m.