What Drives Our Daily Behaviors? A First-Person Perspective of The 12 Driving Forces®

It’s safe to say that we are all unique human beings, and that uniqueness comes from our looks, our upbringing and our individual behavior styles. Have you ever stopped to consider why our behaviors are so unique? Why is it that we aren’t all the same, acting in the same way and doing the same things throughout our days?

While we can clearly observe different styles of behavior, it’s the drivers or motivation behind those behaviors that truly explain why we do the things we do. Our company, TTI Success Insights, has an assessment that measures a person’s drivers providing extremely meaningful insights into the why behind our behaviors. We call this assessment The 12 Driving Forces®.

When used in conjunction with our extremely popular DISC behavioral assessment, a person can understand both what behavior style(s) they possess and the reason behind those behaviors. The 12 Driving Forces are based on six keywords which are areas of motivation in people’s daily lives: Knowledge, Utility, Surroundings, Others, Power and Methodology. On each side of these six keywords are two unique ways to approach each driver. Neither is better or worse, right or wrong; they are simply different.

This blog takes a look at the Driving Forces from a first-person perspective from several members of the TTI SI staff to give you a bird’s eye view of how drivers manifest in people’s daily lives, including examples where opposing drivers present diametrically different ways of approaching a similar situation.

To learn more about all 12 Driving Forces, check out this infographic.


INTELLECTUAL: Rob Stokes, Researcher (based on the Knowledge keyword)

I have a very strong Intellectual drive which allows me to explore contemporary concepts and see things in new ways and from unique perspectives. I want to learn as much as I can about as many different things as possible. I truly enjoy seeing how things interconnect and work. 

The downside to this, however, is that sometimes I am led down unnecessary rabbit holes in an unproductive way, feeling as if there is always more learning that could be done. I fight an internal battle feeling that no matter what my understanding of a subject may be, there is so much more that I do not know. This is existentially terrifying.

The opposite of Intellectual is Instinctive, where a person seeks specific knowledge based on necessity, in order to complete a specific job or task. The Instinctive person will rely much more on past experience or gut feeling compared with the Intellectual who looks for as much information on a subject to feel fully comfortable understanding the subject matter.


RESOURCEFUL: Anubhav Sharma, Project Leader (based on the Utility keyword)

Juggling a busy schedule with multiple projects regularly, I need to work as efficiently as possible. I am willing to put in extra work up front, often working with various cross-functional teams, in order to make the rest of my workload easier and more manageable. 

One of the downsides of involving others and gathering a lot of my information upfront is that projects can be stalled early on. However, investing that time on the front end allows me to work effectively and efficiently, providing everything I need to get the job done quickly and correctly – the first time. 

The opposite of Resourceful is Selfless, which describes people who are driven to complete tasks for the sake of completing them, with little expectation of personal return. Those with a Selfless driver will take as much time as necessary to complete a project unlike the Resourceful person who wants to complete it as efficiently as possible with the highest return on his/her investment of time.


HARMONIOUS: Jessica Lizza, Marketing Coordinator (based on the Surroundings keyword)

With a primary driver of Harmonious, I don’t actively feel like everything has to make sense or have any specific type of order, however I really strive for everything around me to be beautiful or aesthetically pleasing. Interestingly, the way that I perceive things around me tend to change quite rapidly. This sometimes creates challenges for me. A great example was when I recently bought a bunch of furniture and decorations and then changed my mind and decided they weren’t what I really wanted just about a month later. 

Being Harmonious also makes me focus on cleanliness and balance in my surroundings. While a lot of people could label my constant need for things to be in the right place as obsessive, it makes me feel calm to have things a certain way. It lowers my stress level when the things in my environment make sense. It’s not a matter of functionality; my obsession with balance is solely about things looking and feeling a certain way. However, it does bring me challenges because of how orderly I like things to be. 

The opposite side of Harmonious can be found in those who are Objective, including Carol Mettenbrink featured below.


OBJECTIVE: Carol Mettenbrink, Senior Business Services Consultant (based on the Surroundings motivator)

Several positives come from my Objective driver. First and foremost, when things are in a state of chaos I am able to stay focused on the task at hand and keep the emotion out of the situation. I am also able to look at things from a very functional, practical perspective, helping me to maintain order in how I get things done.

For example, when someone is setting up an event room, I will question how a decision will impact the functionality of the room’s set up over the way it looks or feels. Someone else might make it look more pleasant, but I ensure that it is highly functional to serve the purpose it is meant to serve.

Certainly, an Objective driver also has its drawbacks. I can get too focused on wanting things to be highly compartmentalized and coordinated instead of letting things flow organically and in a pleasing manner. My Objective driver can make me come across too rigid when I’m in problem-solving mode in situations where there is no set direction or clear functional purpose. Or, when the pressure is on, I may come across very black and white. This sometimes can be too straightforward for others who have a more Harmonious driver that favors the experience.


ALTRUISTIC: Cassandra Nelson, Solutions Consultant (based on the Others motivator)

As someone who works with our sciences day in and day out, I knew that when we operate from a place that motivates us, we are more energized and engaged. Yet, I had an experience with my Altruistic driving force a few months ago that surprised even me. I did not realize just how much energy leaning into my strongest driver could provide.  

One of my coworkers was unexpectedly out of the office and I was taking on his work. It was the end of my day when an hour-long debriefing call request came in. I was out of juice for the day and was not sure how effective I would be. 

As soon as I experienced the caller’s need to understand the assessments to service her clients, I became reenergized. I was able to help her connect the dots regarding assessment knowledge and apply it to her clients. It was such a powerful experience. I ended my day with more energy and engagement then when I started. 

Of course, being Altruistic also comes with its own difficulties. I often put aside my own needs or goals for those of others. It can be hard for me to set boundaries, making me have to consciously work toward that outcome. 

A perfect example is a time when I used my only day off to introduce a friend of mine to the hiring manager at my place of employment. I had recently been in a car accident and really needed to see the chiropractor. Instead, I put my own medical needs off to help my friend. She did not show for the introduction, wasting my time as well as the hiring manager’s. Despite the best intentions of Altruism, people possessing this driver can easily be taken advantage of if they are not careful.


INTENTIONAL: Dave Clark, Staff Writer/Editor (based on the Others motivator)

Possessing an Intentional driver, I am laser focused and purposeful on how I choose to help people. For me to invest my time and energy in someone, they have to show a true willingness to want to learn. If helping them results in something beneficial to me, all the better. Here’s a real life example that describes this driver to a T.

During a time in my life, I planned to open my own craft brewery. Despite being a former professional brewer myself, I knew I didn’t necessarily want to be the brewer in my company. I preferred to be the face of the company and leave the brewing to another able bodied individual.

At the time I was the president of a local homebrew club and a young club member asked me if I’d be willing to share my expertise on brewing to help him accelerate his learning curve. Before I consented he needed to agree to work hard and be prepared to work. He was, and I became his mentor.

Every time I brewed beer for the next two years, he was my assistant. Countless hours were invested in teaching him all the nuances needed to become a solid brewer; skills he could translate into the professional realm if he desired. He was a great student and I was happy to help. Deep down, I didn’t help out of Altruism, I helped because I envisioned him becoming the brewer of my not-yet-built brewery. I was helping him, but ultimately helping myself, as well. To the Intentional person, it’s all about creating a win-win for both parties.

Being Intentional can help a person keep a laser focus, but it can also make it easy to lose sight of being Altruistic, in general. You won’t often see me giving change to a homeless person on the side of the road. I enjoy helping people and don’t mind doing good deeds, but I want there to be a specific purpose behind my acts of generosity.



We all approach the things we do day in and day out from different, unique perspectives. Our drivers provide the why behind our behaviors and the reasons for the decisions we make. Next time you do something, anything at all, stop for a moment and ask yourself why you were driven to do that particular thing. Becoming aware of what motivates you and drives you into action will help you better understand yourself and why you do the things you do.