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The Words we use...



I recently experienced a visceral reaction to someone's use of the word Drive.


"We need to drive results." "We need to drive the team forward and hold them accountable." I often see Drive in resumes; people have learned that the resume-screening apps look for powerful verbs to get past the first gate to landing an interview.


In his book, Drive, Daniel Pink argues that employees are driven by: autonomy, mastery, purpose. This means employees do NOT need someone else to Drive them. We are not cattle. The idea that 'management' needs to drive employees to do their best work is from theory X management; where the factory workers needed carrots and sticks to motivate them. Theory X management is 100 years old.


Modern leaders (theory Y) know that people really do want to do a good job. They really do want to contribute to something larger than themselves; to serve a purpose and a customer. In my years in corporate life, I have never met anyone who wants to sit idly by and twiddle their thumbs. Rather than 'holding someone accountable' and 'driving them to achieve results', I ask leaders - all of us - instead of DRIVING, we need to inspire, motivate, support, coach, remove obstacles. And if I see the phrase: "Drive the team to...." on a resume, I will not invite you for an interview.


Please let us keep the word DRIVE for your car. One day we can take a road trip again.