June 2013
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TD Magazine

What’s Your Work Motivation?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The new book Focus: Use Different Ways of Seeing the World to Power Influence and Success contends that understanding your dominant motivational focus can help you evaluate how well-suited you are to different kinds of careers or positions in your organization. According to authors Heidi Halvorson and Tory Higgins, there are two ways people are motivated to reach their goals: promotion and prevention. Promotion-focused people view work as opportunities for advancement, achievement, and rewards. They are typically creative, abstract thinkers who embrace risk.

Meanwhile, prevention-focused people relate their work and goals to security. These folks often are detail-oriented, analytic thinkers who are good at anticipating problems.


Not sure what motivates you? The book's free, online Focus Diagnostic Assessment can help you figure it out. To determine your dominant focus, the assessment asks you to identify and rate on a scale of 1 (not very important) to 4 (very important) attributes you want to possess.

Measure 1 examines general attributes such as assertiveness and creativity. Measure 2 examines work-specific attributes such as being more organized and able to delegate work. And Measure 3 examines your dominant focus in action.

It includes a set of questions that ask you to rate specific events that occur in your life. Some sample questions are

  • How often have you accomplished things that got you "psyched" to work even harder?
  • Compared with most people, are you typically unable to get what you want out of life?
  • Do you often do well at different things that you try?

Take the assessment at www.yourfocusdiagnostic.com.

About the Author

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. The ATD Staff, along with a worldwide network of volunteers work to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace.

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