All articles


In my last blog post I introduced the concept of drives and the colors those drives represent. In this blog I go beyond personal leadership and effectiveness. These drives also can be a common language to create an excellent organization or team. Van Gogh in the Office:

Written bij Licencee: Koen Pouw 

In my work as manager and leader, I’ve had great teams and organizations I could lead, but there also have been more difficult times. Using the Management Drives theory and software I can now in hindsight easily see why we were successful at times but also why we sometimes struggled.

With just 6 colors and steps you can paint a perfect team picture. And if you don’t? You’ll miss out and you might not reach your full potential as a team, or worse, it causes gaps in your teams’ performance and reputation.

Step 1: Mission/Vision

The first colors hitting the canvas are purple and yellow. They represent the drives to establish a clear mission and vision. Mission belongs to the purple drive. Creating a sense of existence and a purpose. Without a clear mission, the internal organization has the risk to be loose sand, there is no higher goal that bonds the organization together. The risk of everyone going to do their own thing dramatically increases. Externally it might raise eyebrows as it’s not clear what you stand for. Think for example about the consequences this can have for your organization trying to recruit talent that more and more looks for purpose at work.

The vision is represented by the yellow drive, it looks toward the future, innovates and inspires. Without a vision, the internal organization can start voicing concerns about the future, there is no clear road. Externally people can view your organization lacking innovation. In an ever-evolving world, it’s important your company is viewed to be able to cope with these changes.

Step 2: Strategy / Focus

Then it’s time to take out the orange and red paint. The orange drive will complement your mission and vision with a strategy to achieve the vision. It creates goals and is focused on achieving results. Too little attention for the orange drive in the organization, could lead to the organization being confused and aimless by the lack of goals and results. It will also lead to question externally if you are enterprising with your organization.

As there are always plenty of chances and opportunities, it’s time to complete the 2nd step with the red drive; Creating Focus. It represents pace, power and decisiveness. Pick what you will do and what you will not do. Without focus you’ll find your internal organization drifting, and it could seem like a general lack of urgency. People will wonder if you are able to take decisive action. Using red in your painting can provide you with clear picture.

Step 3: Structure and People

Once you know what to focus on, it’s the last business step to be taken. For that the colors blue and green will be on your brushes. With blue you bring structure to your plan, organizing the context to achieve your priorities, goals and vision. Providing structure will allow for delivering results, adherence to legal obligations and so forth. Lack of structure in your internal organization can be disorderly, and you could lose control over the direction. Externally people might wonder about your capability to deliver longer term.

Through the green drive, there is a focus on people. Without focus on people it will be hard to collaborate, it creates a sense of connection and allows for open communication. Open communication, harmony and eye for everyone’s interest is important. If you don’t attend this drive well, employees can feel disregarded, and likely won’t deliver effectively to your organization. Externally people might wonder if you listen to what is happening around you, and what the current needs of people are.

Just like that you have painted a great foundation with a business plan. The foundation on which you can now work further with your organization to really make these colors jump out the canvas. All people in your team(s) and organization will be driven by a certain amount of drives in that mix, and together they will have a certain team dynamic. The challenge is to create the right balance of all drives at the right levels of the organization and matching the tasks and or goal of the team. Therefore, it’s not only important to take these 3 business steps in your organization, it’s also important to address the drives in the desired behavior of the organization.

Step 4: Contact

This brings us to step 4; Contact. The blue and green drive work together, they are the “contributing” drives. To optimize the use of everyone and the talent you have in the organization, it’s important to really try to understand the other person, listen and ask questions. Aim for real contact and help. These are behaviors driven by the green drive and are based on empathy. With that comes a task to assess situations in an honest, factual matter. Show discipline and set the right example. These are driven by the blue drive. Coordination through cooperation and organization is critical in this step.

Step 5: Confrontation

The fifth step is confrontation. In this step an organization and its people should be able to critically look at their own roles in the organizations, learn to give and receive feedback. Pro-active behavior and experimentation are important. These positive behaviors belong to the orange drive. From the red drive you should develop the behavior in your organization that people are straight with each other, while learning how to keep the connection. Confront people respectfully without attacking them. Also making sure people stick to agreements. Red provides clarity.

Step 6: Contemplation

The last step in the whole process is contemplation. In the phase of contemplation, you ensure to evaluate regularly and check if you are working to take matters back to the essence and the facts. You can discover synergies and connections that give new insights. Next to that from the purple drive, it’s important to make sure the organization is interconnected, both with the teams as their environment. Spend enough time on appropriate rituals in your organization that creates a bond and a sense of trust.

Following these 6 steps you can unlock the potential of your organization and maximize the use of the available competencies and strengths. It will help giving the organization energy and will allow them to work more effectively on the work they need to do. Utilizing the drives already in your organization and developing the ones that are not as present will provide the right balance to excel as an organization.

Once you have found the balance of these 6 drives that works for your team, you get into the flow as a team, and start to deliver excellent results. The organizations and teams that I led and worked in, were at its best when there was a clear mission and vision, coupled with a strategy that cascaded into goals on every level. It not only created focus, but also allowed for structure and clarity. The communication to everyone was clear and open discussions could take place.

Our goal is to help organizations and individuals to excel and this is where the Management Drives software combined with our consultancy can help you. Next to insights in the individual profiles of the team or organization, it will give you insights in your potential strengths, pitfalls and blind spots. For an organization it will also be possible to see how teams interact and work together.

With a team scan and a team session you can make a start of creating awareness. Based on the findings of such a session you can create specific plans on both the business and behavioral steps.

If you are interested to see how you can find the drives in your team(s) and organization and how that would look like specifically for your situation, please contact us to make an appointment to discuss the possibilities.

Time to take out the painting brushes and paint yourself a perfect picture.