Why You Should Calculate Your ToMo


Do you know why your people come to work every day?

“If they come to work because their organization inspires the direct motives – play, purpose and potential – they are likely performing at their best. If the culture is dominated by indirect motives – emotional pressure, economic pressure or inertia – their performance is likely to be much worse,” wrote the authors of “Primed to Perform.”

In my last “Primed to Perform” blog, I discussed the six motives behind work. Today, let’s discuss how they influence Total Motivation – ToMo for short.

The authors explain through various studies they have found two principles that remain consistent in businesses. “First, direct motives typically enhance performance while indirect motives decrease it. Second, the closer the motive is to the work itself, the better the performance,” wrote the authors.

Total Motivation measures both direct and indirect motives. It looks to weigh them against one another and figure out the ToMo of a culture. If the play motivation in your staff were to increase, ToMo would increase. However, if employees were affected more and more by economic pressure, ToMo would decrease.

Why is knowing the ToMo of your Box’s staff important? Well, it gives you real data with which to evaluate your culture. If emotional pressure is motivating your Coaches to do their job, you know that hurts your ToMo. So, you can evaluate how to decrease emotional pressure and increase the play or purpose motive.

Sometimes, you might know something but not have the data/numbers to back it up. Calculating ToMo is a way to evaluate your culture with hard data that you can show your co-owners, staff, etc. And having a high ToMo correlates with success.

For example, take something the authors shared. After asking people to brainstorm a list of the highest performing cultures among big companies, the same names kept popping up – Southwest, Apple Stores, Starbucks, Nordstrom and Whole Foods. But why? All these companies are quite different in products, values, traditions, etc.

Well, the authors said “measure their total motivation and you’ll see that they all outscore their competitors. The total motivation factor allows us to see which companies are falling short of their peers. It tells us whether a culture is inspiring ToMo in all of its employees, across every factory or store. Most importantly, it allows us to track changes over time.”

Total Motivation is the “common magic” among top performing companies. With that said, what is ToMo like in your Box? Once you start measuring it, you’ll be able to evaluate your culture and realize what changes you need to make in order to propel your ToMo higher.

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at heather@peakemedia.com.