Drive is talked about a lot when it comes to people’s performance, but what is drive, where does it come from and what is the benefit?

Drive is a combination of desire and energy…or determination and ambition to achieve something. In Dan Pink’s renowned book, Drive, The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, he puts forward three factors as being key drivers, particularly with knowledge workers:

  • Purpose
  • Autonomy
  • Mastery

You could say that drive is the amount of effort people put into pursuing these.

The positive impacts of drive

Drive sees people achieve goals and objectives for a higher cause (i.e. purpose). This can be anything from feeding the world’s population to building better leadership skills. They also strive to get better at what they are doing (i.e. mastery) and make decisions about how to achieve their objectives (i.e. autonomy). They can provide inspiration to others and usually work collaboratively with those who are working toward the same objectives.

The negative impacts of drive

The downside of too much drive is usually described as someone who is overly ambitious or driven. This may manifest in wanting to ‘do it all’ and excelling in every area of life – career, family, friends, health etc. In this situation, people may be indecisive in committing to long-term projects, always fearing there is a better alternative. They may continually jump from one thing to the next without really finishing anything. They can be difficult to work with as they constantly push their ideas, may not listen to others and may not consider the impact of their actions on others. They may become ruthless, greedy and power hungry – though other personality traits come into play there.

How to determine drive in others

Having staff with drive is positive for any business and those they work around. The best way to determine drive in people is to understand if they have displayed drive in the past. Ask them about previous challenges and obstacles they overcame. Ask how and why they did it. Ask about other people they had to influence along the way to help or support them. Run through questions to understand their successes in each of their positions, what they didn’t achieve or where they missed deadlines or budgets and why. Seek to understand how they tackled problems when they arose. All these things will give insight into how driven the person is.

How to determine your drive

If you’re interested in knowing how driven you are, take our quick quiz below. If you want a more detailed analysis of drive (whether for you or someone else) please contact us for more information about our CDI-Pro test that looks at curiosity, drive, improvement and proactivity.

Happy recruiting!