Series: “REAL Help Wanted...Building An ALL IN Workforce”
Show 1: We Are All The Same
Nature vs Nurture
The consensus about human behavior is we are predominantly
driven by nurture - the culture, our social identity, and our family
unit. If you asked to rate the influence between nature and nurture,
most people (scientists included) would give you an answer of
80-90% nurture with the remaining nature. This means there is little
behavior driven by our genetics and yet how do you explain
commonalities across cultures?
Take xenophobia (the fear of outsiders) for example, every society
suffers from the same dynamic regardless of culture.
What if human behavior is an outcome of natural selection? And if
that is true we must consider the evolutionary forces that made
some groups more successful than others. This premise is that
variants of hereditary traits increase or decrease an organism's ability
to survive, and the survival instinct is prevalent among all species.
These inherited behavioral mechanisms provide a species with a
greater chance of survival. It is true in the animal world, and why not
humans? And what if these inherited traits become part of the social
fabric or culture? A reversal of common belief.
The science is called Sociobiology and based upon two fundamental
Therefore, these traits were "adaptive" in the environment in which the species evolved.
Look at the rhetoric we deal with today on topics like xenophobia,
misogyny (dislike of women), or racism (superiority of certain racial
groups). What if these are hard wired into all humans and it's the
moderating force of culture and societal norms that keeps it in
check? One reason this view is in such disfavor is because it is
interpreted as providing cover for eugenics (determining who can
and cannot reproduce), something I consider a false straw-man
(sorry for the gender reference).
Also we have entire sciences (social)that are founded on the premise
that humans are blank slates and will become whatever their
environments dictate. If that is true, why have all attempts to create a
new man failed? The collapse of communism in the Soviet Union,
China, and Cambodia, as three of many examples, was that the state
would control all aspects of life to create the new man and then the
state would dissolve into a classless society. You don't need a degree
in history to know how those experiments fared.
Search for Meaning
We started this show with a conversation about the origins of
behavior; is it nature or nurture? Most science (sociologists and
psychiatrists) believe people are clean slates at birth and their
environment - parents, family groups, local communities, etc. mold
them into who they become by adulthood. However, this model
doesn't address why human behavior hasn't changed over history,
especially when conditioned by totalitarian states like the Soviet
Union or Communist China. We offered a different interpretation of
history by raising the impact of inherited traits. We are not
suggesting it is either / or, rather more human behavior is inherited
and less is a function of nurture.
The next step is to look at intriguing work by Viktor Frankl; a brief
Dr. Frankl held Phd's in medicine and philosophy and practiced as a
psychiatrist and psychotherapist in Vienna Austria in the 1930s. After
the Nazi takeover of Austria, it was a matter of time before he found
himself in a series of concentration camps because of his Jewish
faith. As Frankl experienced the brutality and degradation around
him, he observed that inmates who had some meaning in their lives
were more likely to survive. He developed a theory from this
experience that man had an innate need to find meaning in their
lives. In fact it was a primal force that drives all human behavior -
whether conscious or unconscious like food or personal safety.
This is my foundation when focusing on how to attract, select,
develop, and compensate for the type of people we can build a
What motivates people? How is today’s workforce different from
earlier generations, and once you have selected and onboarded
them - how to develop talent?
One thought as we start. Nobody in this or any other industry has a
nursery out back growing future employees. We are all competing
for the same talent and the question to consider - how are some
companies attracting the right people?
Motivation - Expectancy and Motive
Attempting a brief discussion on motivation is very ambitious. It is a
topic I have studied and dealt with in over 40 years of managing.
Here are a few insights picked up along the way. First is to
understand that all behavior is rational - yeah, I said rational - to
them. Let me explain.
When people plan a response or just react, the behavior they choose
makes sense to them because of expectations or expectancy. If the
last time this situation arose you did X and it worked, guess what you
will do next time in the same situation? It can look bizarre to
everyone else, but it makes sense to them. So the first test of any
leader is to understand the situation from their viewpoint, to make it
rational. If you can, dealing with the immediate situation and the
individual over the long term becomes easier. This doesn’t mean you
agree, it means you get it and have a point of reference that will
If you are getting under the hood of somebody's personal computer
(their brain), you will find the following operating code: motives drive
behavior and its consequences reinforce or disrupt expectations.
Let’s take these three apart.
Motives are internal to the individual and
driven by 3 needs - power, affiliation, and achievement.
One last thought, each of us has a primary motive that drives our
behavior most of the time. Valuable information to know about your
people. How about you - which is your primary motive? Is it the need
to control your environment and keep everything predictable? Is it a
need for approval to prove what you are doing is right? Is it the need
to show your smarts or a bucket of blood work ethic?
You also have a backup motive - what if the first one fails? What do
you resort to now? This knowledge is significant because of the
insight into and the predictability of future behavior. Here are
potential combinations and notice which do not mix:
There is no Achievement & Affiliation combination because pursuing
these is mutually exclusive.
Based on which motive drives me, I will select a behavior that has the
highest expectation of success. My expectations are formed from
prior experiences, from prior employers. The good news is if you run
a professional operation, it will exceed the experiences of many
people. The bad news is everyone brings baggage to a new
employer, even the first time employee.
This is just a starting point. Our first show: “We Are All The Same”
was intended to lay the groundwork for discussing differences. I do
enjoy taking contrarian positions but in this case that is not the
motive. I made my bones as a first-line supervisor balancing
operational demands with the impact on my team members. What I
learned was simple - there are universal traits in people that drive
behavior - their nature. How they act out those traits, based on
nurture, is unique to each individual. Once I understood the
rationality of their behavior it greatly increased by effectiveness as a
Next Week’s Show 2 “and Yet Very Different” will cover how we can
group behaviors by generation and use that information to
understand how to attract enough of the right people.
Show Link: https://www.spreaker.com/user/10863617/rhw-070321
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