Cost of Misalignment

If only…

If only we knew why our sales revenue is falling…

If only we knew how effective we are at meeting client needs…

If only we knew what motivates our people to go the extra mile…

What if…

What if it is possible to know what brings in the money…

What if it is possible to know if you are effective in serving client needs…

What if it is possible to motivate your people to go the extra mile…

Then you will have BREAKTHROUGH GROWTH!

So the question of old remains… what drives performance in a sustainable manner?

With the advent of technology and the internet, we can now access a huge volume of data and pair it with immense computing strength to generate insights for us. Armed with these insights, not only can we learn about how people tick, we can make right decisions to seize the opportunities ahead of us.

How then?

When it comes to data, it is easy to get trapped in the sheer volume of work, such that one experiences “paralysis by analysis”. Hence it is important to approach data in a systematic method.

Say, if I would like to find out what motivates my sales team, I can pool data from various sources:

  • hiring interviews
  • on-going performance review forms
  • client feedback
  • supervisor observations
  • personal sales achievement
  • and the like…

Once we have these data on hand, one of the first thing to do is to check for:

  • Validity: it measures motivation
  • Reliability: it is a consistent measure and free of errors

So lets examine the list above:

  • hiring interviews
    • Valid? No. That interview was completed years ago, what motivates him then might not motivate him now.
    • Reliable? No. Depends on the judgement of the interviewer and the ability to express by the candidate.
  • on-going performance review forms
    • Valid? No. It measures performance, not motivation.
    • Reliable? Yes, if carried out properly.
  • client feedback
    • Valid? No. Client feedback (“complains”) usually measure performance, not motivation.
    • Reliable? Not really. More feedback from bad service than good service, so it is biased.
  • supervisor observations
    • Valid? Could be, provided the supervisor is trained to look out for the right signs.
    • Reliable? May not be a consistent judgement across different supervisors.
  • personal sales achievement
    • Valid? Could be, supposed that high sales figures comes from motivation within the salesperson rather than riding on a favorable trend.
    • Reliable? May not be if these figures could be doctored.

Many managers rely on flawed assumptions of the above to examine motivation levels of employees, but it could cause more misunderstandings than needed.

Hence managers need to be equipped with the right tools for the job, here’s where Morphos comes in.

First you will need a blueprint…


Motivation = Personal Characteristics + Team Culture + Organisation Resourcing

With that, you can then look into each of the specific areas and assess them:

  • Person
    • Personality: are extroverts or introverts more motivated in selling my products?
    • Attitudes: does the sales person believe in the product in a positive manner?
    • Skills: does the sales person have the competencies to sell the products?
    • Knowledge: does the sales person understand the product and its customer?
  • Team
    • Do the team members hold each other to high standards of excellence?
    • Do the team members support and motivate each other?
    • Do the team members communicate and collaborate with one another?
  • Organisation
    • Does the organisation provide the required resources?
    • Does the organisation provide training and on-going feedback for improvement?
    • Does the organisation track and monitor performance at a individual level?

With the above blueprint, you can then gather data through:

  • Questionnaire surveys
  • Focus groups
  • Interviews
  • Feedback from supervisors
  • etc…

And assess your capabilities in doing that.

Finally, with a baseline of data, you can then test for results. Try tweaking a small area, for example, increasing the communication and collaboration between team mates by setting aside budget and time for team activities, as well as regarding it as a priority.

If in the subsequent month, you find that your salespersons are now more motivated to go the extra mile, congratulations for finding a valid and reliable predictor of motivation and answering the age-old question of “what motivates my people”.

WOW! But that sounds like a lot of work!

Yes it is. People are complex and sometimes unpredictable. They may be motivated by pay on one day, and motivated by the team on another day.

Hence, with big data, we pool huge amounts of observations and analyse them for trends, providing a clearer picture of what works for you and what doesn’t.

Speak to us today to find out more.

Your workplace psychologist: Louis Chin
Phone: (+65) 9231 6373

Always about people

At Morphos, we understand it is always about people

Families, Corporations, Non-profits, Business Partnerships, Sales Teams, Manufacturing Line, etc…

At the core… it is about people like you and I.

  • “Organisations Don’t Innovate, People Do!” – M.Ditkoff
  • “The way your employees feel is the way your customers will feel. And if your employees don’t feel valued, neither will your customers.” – Sybil F. Stershic
  • “Everything rises and falls on leadership” – John C Maxwell
  • “Companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%” – Dale Carnegie
  • “What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family” – Mother Teresa

The question that begs asking… do we really know people?

  • Most business leaders think that financial rewards drive performance
    • Our Response: To a certain extent, yes. But do also consider how recognition and flexible work arrangements may contribute to retaining staff and minimising burnout
  • Some business leaders believe the larger the team, the better the performance
    • Our Response: Yes, provided you can manage the conflicts arising from increased diversity, and ensure that no one is loafing around
  • Some managers think that people management is the HR’s job
    • Our Response: If you have a strong HR they can take care of the legal and admin requirements, they might also put in place practices to ensure workers are hired for the right fit, but day-to-day people management is the job of the line manager. You can observe performance, give timely feedback and rectify behaviours more effectively than HR

So, what can be done?

We need to have a few key shifts in our organisations today:

  • Every manager is a people manager – learn how people function, learn to manage people, learn to lead
    • Morphos can provide: manager coaching, leadership coaching, customised training, leadership diagnostics, team diagnostics, assessment of organisational culture, tracking and monitoring of progress
  • Leaders on every level – find your passion and purpose in life and align the work you do to who you are
    • Morphos can provide: leadership coaching, life coaching, personality diagnostics, customised training, tracking and monitoring of progress
  • Empowered HR – go beyond the mundane to establish a credible, objective, and strategic voice
    • Morphos can provide: leadership coaching, organisational diagnostics, customised training, big data analytics, HR analytics, workplace psychology research, HR advisory services, business partnership services, design and implementation of strategic HR initiatives

Impulse Buying and Personality

According to a recent research by Thompson and Prendergast (2015), our personality traits affect our purchase behaviour, especially in terms of impulse buying.

Through their research on 842 volunteers, they found that 3 of the 5 traits in the five factor model of personality affect our inclination to purchase items on impulse.

But before we delve into how our personality traits affect our purchase behaviours, let us understand how impulse buying comes about.

Impulse Buying

Firstly, impulse buying comes about when we sacrifice long term goals (such as saving money) for short term reasoning (“look at the money I can save if I buy this now”)

Secondly, impulse buying comes about when we stop thinking about the consequences of the purchase decision (credit purchases are easier than cash purchases… kind of hurts to pay cash, but that action helps us to monitor our spending)

Thirdly, impulse buying comes about when we don’t have enough mental energy to resist (such as when we are down in the dumps, feeling unhappy)

PEAKS and Impulse Buying

So, when the above clarified, how does our PEAKS affect them?

3 Factors: Purpose, Energy and Sustainability

After controlling for effects of gender and age, the researchers found that:

1) the higher your Purpose, the less likely you will buy on impulse

2) the higher your Energy, the more likely you will buy on impulse

3) the higher your Sustainability, the less likely you will buy on impulse

And among the 3 traits, Purpose has the greatest effect.


Hence, if you are troubled with uncontrollable spending and debts that are building up, try leveraging on these actions.

1) Define your savings goal, write it down and remind yourself constantly

2) Bring a picture of your family everywhere you go and remind yourself of your duties towards them

3) Include an accountability partner (can be your spouse or someone you can trust) when you go shopping

4) Plan in advance of what you need to buy and budget for it, bring enough cash to get the things you need, and keep your credit cards out of convenience

5) If you must shop online, ask someone (who does not buy on impulse) for a second opinion before you make the purchase



Thompson, E. R. & Prendergast, G. P. (2015) The influence of trait affect and the five-factor personality model on impulse buying. Personality and Individual Differences, vol. 76, 216 – 221.