Applying the 4-Drive Model

Tim Houlihan

Kurt Nelson recently leveraged the 4-Drive Model with a global pharmaceutical firm that needed to revamp their sales incentive trips. The firm historically offered lavish trips to exotic destinations for top performers and their guests and usually included some senior executives to rub shoulders with. The trips were pure fun with virtually every imaginable expense covered by the company.

As you can imagine, the trips were beloved by all who participated, and they generated tremendous equity for those who aspired to reach the top echelons of the sales organization in order to qualify. People who earned were treated with tremendous respect within the organization.

However, the firm wanted to dial down public perception without sacrificing motivation for the reps. After private interviews with 50 reps and regional managers, brainstorms with an additional 30 reps and sales leaders, and input from senior leaders, a menu of 10 trips was created so teams could choose (bond and belong) from learning-centric experiences (create and challenge) including senior leaders (acquire and achieve) that were relevant to their team’s achievements (define and defend).

It can be hard to let go of beloved awards that we have strived for over the years – and may have yet earned. Today, the old trips have been abolished and the new trips have been introduced. Because we have difficulty letting go of the old and embracing the new, the transition hasn’t been easy. However, word on the street is the sales force is getting aligned behind the new trips, engaging in the team aspects of the rewards and setting their sites on the new awards. As is often the case with world-class companies, all will be well with the motivations of the reps and the company’s sales will thrive.