In Transactional Analysis there are five Drivers - ways in which we feel compelled, or driven to act.  I have taken these drivers adn applied them to describe some organisations I have encountered. See if you can recognise what Driver might best reflect your organisation.


1.      Try Hard

The Try Hard organisation focuses on the effort put into the task. Work is tackled with enthusiasm.  The organisation is energetic and motivated, and things get off the ground easily.  People are encouraged to volunteer to take on new tasks.  However, energy is lost when the task becomes mundane. Jobs are unfinished, and new initiatives taken up before others are complete.  There is a sense of frustration because things don’t seem to ever get done here, although a lot of work is being done.  People are very busy, all working hard, but not necessarily finishing what is started. Management is known to instruct people to  “Stop what you’re doing and start doing this”. If you don’t rise to that challenge, you don’t fit in.  


2.      Please Others

Organisations in which the primary Driver is Please Others will attract people who go out of their way to do what others want, sometimes at their own expense. Harmony is encouraged, and it is expected that people do what is expected without having to be asked.  People are expected to consult with others and take their feelings and views into account.  The organisational style is nurturing,  caring, and encouraging. It is not encouraged to ‘rock the boat’, and honest feelings or thoughts are suppressed to avoid conflict. Remain pleasant at all costs – perhaps to the detriment of the organisation.


3.      Be Strong organisations value control and the ability to handle stress stoically.  The organisation thrives when in a crisis, where the requirement is to buckle under, get ‘back to basics’, and prevail.  People with a strong sense of duty, willing to work on, even under unpleasant conditions, are valued.  Admitting weakness is not acceptable, and any failure to cope is seen as weak.  There is no time given to recognition of people’s feelings.  People may hide their failings or their inability to cope.


4.      Be Perfect organisations put a great deal of attention in getting things absolutely correct. People must be well organised and there is no room for error. Thoroughness accuracy and attention to detail is the organisation’s strength. However, the pressure to Be Perfect may result in missing deadlines due to ‘analysis paralysis’, and people may be unwilling to take risks for fear of failure. Where the Try Hard organisation would be keen to try anything new the  Be Perfect would prefer to stick to its old ways and do what it knows best. This may result in an organisation that does not adapt to changes in its environment, the market, or new technologies for instance.


5.      The Hurry Up organisation encourages quick work with people responding to short deadlines. People are expected to get a lot done in a short time and be able to thrive under pressure.  Not much time is spent on preparation and there is a tendency to delay work until the pressure builds up. The ensuing need to hurry up results in mistakes being made.  People are expected to think and act quickly and there is an impatience and intolerance of slowness. People are rushed, arriving late for meetings and leaving early because of pressurised deadlines.


Work in Organisations where these Drivers are apparent is on recognising the limiting effects of the Driver while acknowledging the possible positives to be found therein, and on empowering the organisation to change what holds them back and use the best of what is, to make them stronger.

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