Primal Management

Primal Management

Review in the Journal of Personnel Psychology:  

"The book is clearly written, strongly and convincingly argued, insightful, provocative, stimulating, and interesting to read."



screen shot of dashboard high quality

Here is a screen shot of The Horsepower System's™ leadership dashboard.  It gives every manager a quick diagnostic readout of the current survey scores for their department.  They can tell, at a glance, if the motivational engine is functioning optimally, or malfunctioning. 

Motivation is the master metric that drives everything else.  It therefore deserves a prominent position front-and-center on an organization's management dashboard. 

Learn more >

Paul's Blog

Are decisions really 80% emotional?
As some of you know, I'm a graduate of the University of Chicago, a very rational place where, according to legend, "Fun goes to die."  I expect to be tarred and feathered at the next U of C management conference  for this provocative and contrarian post.  
Advertisers, like Kevin Roberts, CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi, claim that the buying decision is 80% emotional and 20% rational.  According to Roberts, "Reason leads to conclusions.  Emotion leads to action."  What about other decisions, like the decision on the part of our employees to work hard?  Is this also 80% emotional?  What is going on here?  If emotions are so important in decision making, why was the word never uttered in any of my econ classes?
Answers to Webinar Questions PDF Print E-mail

On June 17th I gave a webinar for the American Management Association.  According to the AMA, 1,500 managers and supervisors attended the event and 146 thought-provoking questions were posted.  I answered some of these questions at the end of the webinar, but many went unanswered.  It will take me awhile to work my way through all 146 questions, but here are my answers to the first 50.

1. How can we align with human nature when there are aspects that aren't appropriate for the work place?

ANSWER:  The biologic appetites for things like food, rest, and reproduction might not be appropriate for the workplace, but the social appetites to invent, master skills, achieve goals, and to work as a tightly bonded team are ALL VERY APPROPRIATE to the workplace.  The one social appetite we don’t want to activate in the workplace is the self-protection appetite and its ballistic emotions like rage, anger and fear.  Chapter 8 of Primal Management discusses how to avoid triggering these harmful emotions in the workplace.

2. What if the answer human nature gives us is bad for business? Is there a compromise?

ANSWER:  As I described in my answer to question 1, nature and business are on the same page.  Both entities want employees to innovate, master the survival skills of the tribe, deploy one’s skills to achieve goals, and to work as part of a highly committed, and coordinated team.  There is absolutely no disconnect between how we are built and what corporations need to succeed.  As I mentioned in the webinar, the social appetites are the source of productive pleasures, not lazy pleasures.  All we need to do is build true social groups held together by authentic, invested relationships and the rest will take care of itself.  We cannot activate the SOCIAL appetites without an authentic SOCIAL group.

3. Is the 29% globally or US only?

ANSWER:  The 29% figure I cited for the percentage of engaged employees is for the U.S., but the engagement scores for other countries around the world are in the same ballpark according to the Gallup Organization.  In other words the disengagement epidemic is a worldwide phenomenon.  Scandinavian countries, as I recall, have the highest engagement scores.

4. Is your book available in Spanish?

ANSWER:  The Horsepower SurveyTM is available in Spanish, but the book is not.   However, I do have consulting partners in Mexico who are certified in my methodology and who are available to help Spanish-speaking companies tune their motivational engines.

5. How long does it take to obtain success in this category (i.e. a successful culture change)?

ANSWER:  A manager can turn-around his/her workgroup by investing 4 months of dedicated and consistent effort.  This “4 month” figure comes from a fellow named Bob Carpenter who turned around 7 companies in third-world countries all over the globe during his 20-year career.  He did this by respecting the local culture, attending the ceremonies of the local community, and by helping develop the potential of each and every employee.  Bob said it always took 4 months to turn things around. 

He said it was like a tipping point.  At first his employees thought he was just another gringo coming to take advantage of them.  After four months of dedicated relationship-building the consensus shifted and productivity doubled.  Bob Carpenter taught us an important lesson--it is hard to build trusting relationships with employees.  You’ve got to be committed to the process and in it for the long haul.  You’ve got to ante up!

6. People bring their "personal baggage" to the work place.  What about employees who do not want to form effective relationships, that is, they are motivated by personal gain.  How do you ensure that they work effectively in team projects?

ANSWER:  I agree, there is plenty of “personal baggage” out there, which is why 50% of us will suffer from some form of mental illness at some point during our lives.  We each carry around psychic wounds caused by failures of one type or another, so we all have our baggage. 

Employees who don’t buy-into the workplace may have good reasons for holding back.  They may be afraid of rejection, or they may have been laid off during a downsizing event.  Others drift into careers because of parental pressure or for financial reasons.  I sometimes wonder how 29% of employees somehow manage to find meaning and purpose inside impersonal, hierarchical organizations.

The best managers, I suggest, are more like mental health workers than task masters.  The best managers patiently listen to the “baggage” and help employees heal old psychic wounds.  This type of mentoring approach can rehabilitate even the most cynical, disengaged employee.  

Managers who help employees improve their self-esteem, I suggest, will have loyal allies for life.  This is why I recommend a mutual-mentoring approach to management.  Mangers help employees solve problems (both workplace and personal) and employees do the same in return.  After four months, or so, of mutual investing, a trust relationship will have been built.  Employees will naturally want to protect this relationship by not disappointing their mentor.     

7. When information is power in a threatening environment. How to promote information sharing?

ANSWER:  In a competitive, hierarchical organization nobody shares information because it would be equivalent to helping the opposing football team during a football game.  Our entire culture is hyper-competitive.  Vince Lombardy’s famous maxim comes to mind: “Winning isn’t everything, it is the only thing.” 

Information hoarding is simply one of the damaging side effects of a hierarchical, competition-based system where the operational word is “me”, not “we.”  Chapter 9 of my book suggests that hierarchical organizations are on their way out because they are poorly suited to a turbulent global economy where companies need everyone’s head in the game.  The lack of cooperation within a hierarchical organization is one of its fatal flaws. 

If you work inside one of these lumbering dinosaurs, I suggest that you create an island of sanity within your workgroup that aligns with human nature.  Your group will thrive, and other managers might want to know how you did it.  Who knows, over time you might be able to convert your organization from an impersonal dinosaur into a thriving superorganism.

8. How are different personalities taken into account?

ANSWER:  Personalities, like every other human trait, are variable.  Frequency plots of the five productive pleasures would show people strung out along a bell curve.   In other words, we each have our pleasures-of-choice.  In my case, I enjoy curiosity (the pleasure of novelty and exploration) and the Eureka pleasure I experience when I get ideas.   Other people are more security minded so they strive to feel safe and secure.   Men have 3 times more dopamine receptors than women; so many men thrive on the euphoria of a win.   This is why men are 10 times more likely to abuse cocaine or methamphetamine than women (cocaine and methamphetamine stimulate the dopamine system).  This is why men are so darned competitive—we REALLY enjoy winning.  Some men and women, on the other hand, might find warm relationships more rewarding.

The best workplaces, I suggest, offer something for everybody, and they allow employees to try-on positions and roles until they find the right fit.

9. How do you handle employees who are themselves toxic?

ANSWER:  Before you assume an employee is irretrievably toxic, I suggest you try to find the source of that toxicity using the mutual mentoring approach described in my answer to question 6.  If that doesn’t work, you ought to protect your co-workers from the toxic employee because toxic attitudes are contagious. 

10. How do you compensate for an inherent poor work ethic? 

ANSWER:  I would question your use of the word, “inherent.”  I strongly believe that human beings are built to be innovative, productive and to work as part of a highly committed team.  A poor work ethic might mean that the employee feels that their work is meaningless, that they are not appreciated, or that the workgroup doesn’t really like them.  In this case the poor work ethic is just a symptom of a deeper problem.  The easy thing to do is to fire this employee.  The right thing to do is to explore the cause of the employee’s discontent.  Sometimes all it takes is to convince the employee that their role is vital and that you personally appreciate their efforts.  According to the Gallup Organization, there are very few attaboys and attagirls being handed out these days.  Only 15% of employees report receiving encouragement from their manager during the past 12 months.  If this is true, then who has the poor work ethic?  Perhaps managers are just too lazy or preoccupied to hand out the encouraging words that all human beings need!

11. What about blue collar workers that don't get the chance to innovate or anyone who doesn't have the chance to move up in the organization. Once mastery is achieved people will look for other challenges?

ANSWER:  It is unfortunate that blue collar workers are not allowed to innovate in your company.  Nucor Steel, one of the companies featured in my book, had a more enlightened and humble attitude toward blue collar workers.  Nucor’s Chairman, Ken Iverson, considered the workers as an important source of innovation because they knew their jobs better than anyone else.  A crane operator at Nucor came up with an idea that saved the company millions of dollars a year.  Nucor out innovated competing steel companies without a research and development department by listening to its workers ideas.  Iverson said he was embarrassed when he was given credit for Nucor’s innovations.  He said, “I came up with none of those innovations.  All I did was create an environment where ideas were encouraged.”

Regarding new challenges, Semco, another company described in Primal Management encouraged blue collar workers to change jobs whenever they wanted.   They also paid for any college courses for interested workers.  This allowed workers the pleasure of developing new skills, and provided the company with a very flexible workforce that could respond rapidly to unexpected events (because people could fill in for one another due to the cross-training).

Unfortunately, many companies are prejudiced against their blue collar workers, which is, in my opinion, a grave mistake.  It turns potentially fulfilling and rewarding jobs into boring, repetitive chores.  The Japanese understand this with their quality circles—and look how their automobile industry is doing in relation to ours! 

12. Love accidental project  =) thanks for the web cast

ANSWER:  Hmm, I’m not sure what “accidental project” refers to, but I’m glad you enjoyed the webinar!

13. Outside influences (i.e. poor economy) tend to override internally-driven motivations.

ANSWER:  Outside influences tend to override concern for ones employees, but they don’t have to.   Ken Iverson, the deceased Chairman of Nucor Steel, treated external challenges as an opportunity to pull together.  In 1982 the steel industry suffered a downturn much worse that the current one.  Half of all steel workers were laid off.  Ken Iverson laid nobody off.  Instead, he took a 75% pay cut, his General Managers took a 50% pay cut, his supervisors took a 40% pay cut and the rank-and-file took a 20% pay cut.  When the downturn ended, Nucor came roaring back to dominate the steel industry in the U.S.  That’s what I call leadership.  If you get a chance, pick up his book “Plain Talk:  Lessons from a Business Maverick.”  It’s terrific.

Statistically, companies that turn to layoffs as the first response to a crisis loose in the long run.  They damage their motivational engines and underperform their competitors.   A study done during the downsizing craze of the 1990s found that companies that downsized underperformed their competitors by 24% when measured three years later.  In other words, they took a short term gain that cost them dearly in the long term.  It’s too bad that Wall Street, investors, and many CEOs don’t understand the importance of the motivational engine for driving long-term sustained growth.

14. Thanks for the info!

ANSWER:  You’re welcome.

15. How does your survey compare to the Q12 survey?

ANSWER:  I have great respect for the Gallup Organization.  Their Q12 survey is based upon a solid theory.  If you get a chance, read Tom Rath’s books, “Vital Friends,” and “How Full is Your Bucket.”  Tom Rath, by the way, is the director of research for Gallup. 

My survey is based upon a biology-based theory that is also very solid.  I guess the main difference between the surveys is that theirs is based upon positive psychology and mine is based upon biology, evolutionary logic and neuroeconomics.

16. With a Team of 30 people, how can you meet the emotional needs of them all and still be equitable to everyone?  Also, there are some that do not want to be part of a social network, they separate themselves from the rest of the team purposely, it seems.  How can I get these individuals engaged?

ANSWER:  I know that my suggestions sound overwhelming, and it does take a sizable investment of time and effort, but the payback is sizable too in terms of a more productive and rewarding work environment.  It really boils down to, “What goes around, comes around.”  If you are willing to go beyond the call of duty for your employees, by getting to know them as individuals and helping them out in a crunch, then they will go beyond the call of duty for you too.  It’s really not that complicated.

Please refer to my answers to Questions 6 and 10 regarding what to do with people who separate themselves from the team. 

17. This is very elementary... including the spider graph.... there is an opportunity to provide common sense....

ANSWER:  I worked very hard over 30 years to boil the murky subject of human motivation into something simple and clear.  You are right that it is common sense, but, unfortunately, common sense isn’t very common these days.  If you’d like to see common sense in action, read Ken Iverson’s book, “Plain Talk.”
18. I may have missed it, what is cathexis?

ANSWER:  Cathexis is the most subtle and most important concept in my book.  It is the stealthy, subconscious process that creates interpersonal bonds between human beings.  If two people value each other, and then invest in each other, they quite literally become part of each other.  In other words, their identities overlap (at least to a point).  The simplest example of cathexis is the relationship between a parent and a child.  The parent invests mightily in the child, and the child becomes part of the parent’s identity, or sense-of-self because of that investment.  If the child is hurt, the parent feels that hurt, and if the child experiences a success, the parent feels that success.  This identity-merging process is called “cathexis” by psychiatrists.

The same bonding process occurs in the workplace when people value one another and invest in one another.  If employees invest in one another and in their managers, then they will automatically look out for one another because they have psychologically merged.  In other words, we bring others inside ourselves by virtue our investments in them.  I know this sounds strange, but there is some really solid science behind the concept of cathexis.  In Primal Management I suggest that companies encourage mutual-mentoring as a way to create cathected bonds in the workplace.

19. I have seen that worded as 'Best Friend at Work'

ANSWER:  I’m not sure what this question refers to, but I can take a guess.  The Gallup Organization has conducted millions of employee surveys.  Out of all those surveys, one question keeps popping up as being the most important predictor of business success—“Do you have a vital friend at work.”  For more information about this, read Tom Rath’s book, “Vital Friends.”  As I mentioned earlier, Tom Rath is the director of research for Gallup.
20. But how can this work when everyone does a different job?

ANSWER: I’m not sure what this question is referring to.

21. Does this have a direct or indirect correlation to pay?

ANSWER:  Again, I’m not sure what this question is referring to.

22. Is there a version of the horsepower survey that we can download?

 ANSWER:  Yes, you can demo the survey by following this link: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it /?debug=true#

24. Can you explain how to read the spider chart again?

ANSWER:  Spider plots are a bit confusing to get used to, so we converted the spider plot into a simple bar chart in the most recent version of The Tune-Up MetricTM.  Each of the social appetites represents a bar on the bar chart.

25. What is the cost of the survey?

 ANSWER: The suggested retail price of the survey is $2.00 per survey.  Since the survey is conducted monthly, the yearly cost would be $24 per survey.  This cost is comparable to a single employee engagement survey.   This is a pittance if you look at it as a maintenance fee to keep your employees operating efficiently. 

26.  Is the book written in common business language vs. technical language?

 ANSWER:  The book is written in non-technical language.  I wanted to make it fun to read, so I  tossed all the technical stuff into the end notes.  Once you start it, I think you will have trouble putting it down.

27.  Don't some employees feel that their managers are toxic because of some external forces that impact their perception? Other employees may not feel the same way.

ANSWER:  I think most people who are classified as toxic have issues stemming from their childhood.  This may sound trite, but if children don’t get strokes from their parents, they enter adulthood without social assets in their psychic vaults (I talk about this phenomenon in Chapter 8 of Primal Management).  This makes them overly needy of praise and very sensitive to any sort of criticism.  The medical term for this is ailment is narcissistic personality disorder. 

There can be misunderstandings and misperceptions as you suggest, but these can be cleared up by getting to know employees and letting them get to know us.
28. Link for survey isn't working.  It says "Sorry, the survey you have requested is unavailable or has already been completed."

 ANSWER:  I’m not sure what this refers to.

29. I totally agree, but most companies/managers are driven by revenue numbers.  There is little thought to how happy employees are, all that is important is that number regardless of how someone feels getting there.  How to you convince managers/corporations that paying attention to the happiness of human beings will bring even greater rewards?

 ANSWER:  I would have them look at a study by Wharton finance professor, Alex Edmans.  He took the companies on the Fortune “100 Best Places to Work” list and created a mutual fund out of them.  He tracked them for 7 years and then compared them to the performance of an index fund composed of randomly-selected stocks.  The 100 Best companies returned a 14.5% rate-of-return as compared to just 6% for the index fund.  Conclusion, treating employees well more than doubled shareholder return.  

 I would also have the numbers people read the book, “Maverick” by Ricardo Semler.  Semler made a fortune in Brazil by treating his employees right.

30.  Do you monitor the horsepower survey by individual, by division/dept and/or across the organization?

 ANSWER:  The Horsepower SurveyTM data is used to create three metrics.  The Horsepower Metric® and the Tune-Up MetricTM show average data for the group.  Groups can be of any size (although prohibit groups less than five because it compromises anonymity).

 The Turnover Metric shows a histogram of individual horsepower scores, but the data is presented anonymously.

 The purpose of the survey is to provide feedback to individual managers and their employees that can be use to create a rewarding work environment.  Everyone who takes the survey has access rights to the results.   Managers and employees should sit down each month to review the results and come up with ways to create a more natural, human-friendly workplace.  The survey should not be used to rate managers or set bonuses, because this will cause people to “game the system (unfairly try to manipulate the results).”

31. Do you recommend that the survey be anonymous? 

 ANSWER:  The survey asks for people’s deep, personal feelings.  The only way people will volunteer this personal information is to guarantee anonymity.  The survey software is therefore totally anonymous.  This means that personal identifiers are not tracked.  We could not reveal the name of an employee, even if we wanted to.   I personally guarantee the anonymity of the survey.  If someone thinks the survey results are being used unfairly, I want to hear about it ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )!

32.  What are ERU's? 

ANSWER:  Good question.  ERUs are Emotional Reward Units.  All survey responses are recorded on a pleasure/pain continuum ranging from -10 on the painful side to +10 on the pleasurable side.  Each unit on this arbitrary scale is called an emotional reward unit.  The most rewarding experience imaginable would score a +10, while a neutral experience would score zero reward units, and the most painful experience imaginable would score -10 ERUs. 

In Primal Management, I prove that all rewards are fundamentally emotional in nature.  Even our monetary pay and benefits gets converted into emotional reward units by the basal striatum—the brains master reward center.  If we implanted electrodes in someone’s brain, we could actually convert monetary pay into neuronal firing rates.  We could then compare neural reward levels from wages to neural reward levels from the five social appetites. 

33. What is ERU? See answer above.

34. Is there a location I can download the horsepower chart and input questions for example..?

 ANSWER:  It sounds like you want to conduct your own survey and calculate your own metrics.  You are welcome to do this using the information provided in my book, however, there is an easier way.   I’ve developed an inexpensive, online survey and reporting interface that costs only $2 per survey.  The survey software crunches the numbers and reports the results.  Since the survey is done monthly, this corresponds to $24 per employee per year.  This is a pittance.  A small maintenance cost to keep your employees in good repair.  The reporting interface includes tune-up tips and suggested readings for improving motivation in the workplace. 

Another reason to use the online survey is anonymity.  Employees are unlikely to provide their true feelings if their employer is collecting the surveys and crunching the numbers.

35. Is the horsepower metric derived from the data collected from the emotional incentive form?

 ANSWER:  Yes, The Horsepower Metric® is derived just from the final summary- question on the survey, “How do you feel in general? In other words, do you typically arrive to work with a smile or a frown?”  This question is meant to measure overall intrinsic reward, or the total emotional paycheck.  The basal striatum keeps track of our rewarding experiences.  By asking people how rewarded they feel, we are asking them to do a basal-striatum, gut-check. 

36. How does that survey help if workers feel stressed and threatened for good reason? Layoffs and business reversals, for example. Then the survey won't be telling us anything we don't already know.

ANSWER:  The Horsepower SurveyTM puts employees front-and-center on the management dashboard where they belong.  Managers are numbers-driven.  If there is no number to represent the motivational condition of the workforce, then motivation will be ignored in favor of measurable financial and operational factors.  Once companies begin measuring motivational horsepower, they will soon realize that it drives every other financial, operational and HR metric.  Feelings drive everything and it is unbusinesslike to ignore the single most important factor governing the success or failure of our companies. 

There are ways to institute layoffs that WILL NOT REDUCE MOTIVATIONAL HORSEPOWER, namely, by making layoffs a last resort and by involving employees in the decision-making process.  Layoffs, if carelessly done, are extremely damaging to the motivational engine.  They have long-term motivational consequences that traditional metrics don’t capture.  These are hidden costs, and The Horsepower SurveyTM makes them visible.

37. How can you switch the work environment of a group from one of negative and threatening emotions to one of positive and integrated family feelings?

ANSWER:  Improving motivational horsepower is not a tactic, or a strategy.  It is more like a lifestyle change.  It involves valuing and taking responsibility for the health and welfare of your workplace tribe.  It involves investing time and effort in getting to know our employees, mentoring them, and going beyond the call of duty if necessary to help them.  If an employee has an emergency, the manager should be the first to respond.  Employees will not go beyond the call of duty for us unless we are prepared to go beyond the call of duty for them.   In other words, it is not easy.   You’ve got to commit and dive in.  

It take four months of concerted effort to convert a negative workplace into a positive one.  Fortunately, the payout in terms of improved productivity and improved quality of life outweigh the costs.  I discuss this cost/benefit calculation in Chapter 4 of Primal Management.

38. So how to bridge that gap?  See answer to last question.

39. It's great to create that "warm family feel." My boss does it through morale events, treating co-workers as family, even hugging. But I prefer to keep a more professional distance.  It makes it easier for me to give assignments, coach and direct.

ANSWER:  I can understand why we might want to keep employees at arm’s length.  What if we need to fire someone we care about.   That would be painful and embarrassing.  Also, what if employees reject our efforts to create interpersonal bonds?  That would be embarrassing too.

Despite the risks inherent in relationships, it has been statistically proven that arm-length management is harmful to morale and sharply-reduces productivity.  If you don’t believe me, read Tom Rath’s book, “Vital Friends.”  Rath is the director of research for the Gallup Organization.  His book is full of hard statistical evidence based upon millions of employee surveys.

Interpersonal relationships motivate employees to perform and achieve goals because they don’t want to let their management-mentor down. 

If you are uncomfortable with relationships at work, it is perfectly acceptable to demonstrate commitment through coaching and mentoring.  Corrections should always be made with the intention of making employees stronger and better, not as criticism.  There are many ways to invest in employees and show them that you care about their development and their success without getting overtly personal.

40. I don't see a spiritual dimension to the list of social appetites. For example, the need to help others, to serve a greater good (something beyond yourself) and to make a positive difference with your life.

 ANSWER:  Great question!  The spiritual dimension you mention is captured by the competency appetite—how capable and competent we feel about ourselves.  You are correct that we all possess a deep need to make a contribution to the greater good.  This is, in my opinion, the ultimate achievement and it therefore boosts self esteem the most.  I have always felt that I wanted to make a difference.  Primal Management is my contribution to the greater good, and it is extremely rewarding to see it become a reality. 

 I believe that we create our sense-of-self, or identity, by the thing we choose to invest in.  In his book, The Road Less Traveled, Scott Peck defines the spiritual dimension in terms of investment.  The things we invest in are brought inside us.  We therefore extend ourselves into the cosmos by the things we chose to invest in.

41. Thanks!   You’re welcome.

42. How do you realize anti bureaucracy in an ISO environment?

 ANSWER:  Bureaucracy is like a vine that is always growing.  As new rules and systems are instituted, older, antiquated systems need to be pruned to maintain equilibrium.  Some companies offer awards for bureaucracy busting.  Ricardo Semler, the owner of Semco, a famous Brazilian company, used the three-question test to determine which procedures stay and which go.  Any procedures that cannot survive three iterations of “why” were deemed outmoded and unnecessary. 

The very best workplaces do not rely on artificial systems of control to regulate employee behavior.  Excessive rules, in my opinion, signal a failure of leadership. 

It is far more efficient, in the long run,  to rely on the elegant motivational autopilot that nature (or God, if you prefer) engineered into our brains to promote our survival.  Human beings survived for millions of years without organizational charts, job descriptions, supervisors, or other systems of control. 

If I had a choice between using an artificial system, like ISO, or using the elegant motivational mechanism woven deeply into our brains, I would go with the natural system every time.  Systems and procedures are important to insure quality and efficiency, but not if they come at the cost of throwing ice water on the motivational engine.  In other words, control systems should be built around human nature, not on top of it.

43. Were all of those companies Fortune 500 companies?

 ANSWER:  I assume that you are asking about the companies on Fortune’s “Best Places to Work” list.  I believe you are correct.  The companies on the “100 Best Places to Work” list are large Fortune 500 companies.  This would be a good question for the Best Places to Work Institute—the folks who compile the list.

44. What is the basis for defining "best place to work"? 

ANSWER:  The rankings are based upon employee surveys administered by The Best Places to Work Institute, and by objective factors like wages and benefits.

45. If Paul is going to answer everyone's questions via e-mail, is there a way to share this Q&A - perhaps on his website?

 ANSWER:  Yes, I am posting the Q&A on my blog.

46. Denison, as in the company.  Http://

 ANSWER:  Thanks for the link, I will look this company up.

47. This aligns beautifully with a book I just read entitled "It's NOT About The Coffee" by the former President of Starbucks.

 ANSWER:  Thanks, I will check it out!

48. It is obvious to say, "Leadership is the key."  Do we just fire the leaders who call this fluff?

Good Question.  I don’t know if it is possible to reform hyperrational, left-brained managers who look at the workplace as an equation and who treat employees like pawns on a chess board.  I wrote Primal Management in a very logical fashion, almost like a mathematical proof, to prove to left-brain managers once-and-for-all that feelings and motivation matter.  In other words, I used their own weapon, logic, against them.  I wanted to make my arguments so simple and compelling that corporate American would feel embarrassed not to implement this approach.  Unfortunately, I suspect that the left-brained types are going to remain left-brained.

I will be happy if  Primal Management helps emotionally-intelligent managers walk tall and feel confident in their employee-centric approach. 

49. My employee has received spot awards, personal accolades, opportunity for career development throughout the year. Our compensation system has parameters that limit the amount of increase available, regardless of performance.  My previously engaged, motivated employee has taken a nose dive in attitude since receiving the compensation increase.  How do I bring them back to the state they were in before?  I've battled for a change in the salary decision but have been declined.

 ANSWER:  Monetary pay and intrinsic rewards are made of the same stuff—feelings.  Money is only rewarding, for example, because of the feelings it creates.  Once we realize that money and intrinsic rewards are made of the same stuff—feelings, then it becomes clear that they are fungible and interchangeable.  You can therefore compensate for the lost monetary pay by turning on the five productive pleasures in your workplace.  Chapters 4-8 of Primal Management will show you how to do that.

50. How does your survey differ from the Denison Survey? - thanks!

 ANSWER:  I’m not sure, but I will look into it.

51. Is this concept similar to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs?

ANSWER:  Very good question.  On the surface, my social appetite theory is similar to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.  My biologic appetites, for example, can be compared to Maslow’s basic needs on the bottom tier of his pyramid.  I don’t really see human needs as a hierarchy.  All of our biologic and social needs are vital for our survival.  Which need controls us in a given moment depends on the circumstances.


avatar lisa
Does the description of Nucor sound like an organization in which you would feel motivated? Why or why not? Which theory of motivation would best explain your feelings?
avatar Paul Herr
Dear Lisa,

Nucor Steel is one of the best known examples of natural management: management that aligns harmoniously with human nature. This company presses all five of the motivational buttons described in Primal Management. It would therefore be an awesome and deeply satisfying place to work (or at least it was when Ken Iverson was running it).

Ken Iverson wrote a marvelous little book titled, "Plain Talk, Lessons from a Business Maverick," that all leaders ought to read. It describes how to tap into the passion, creativity and energy of the workforce. My book, Primal Management, explains why Iverson's leadership methods were so effective.

Warm Regards,

Paul Herr
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