Can’t Get No Satisfaction?


Share on LinkedIn

I’ve been wearing my earbuds while working out on the treadmill lately, to keep out the random noise of the gym. Lately I’ve taken to blasting a bit of the music of my generation through them. Who knew the Rolling Stones could be so good for motivation?

But, after hearing Mick complain for about the fortieth time that he was not getting any satisfaction, I thought to myself: “Gee. Maybe his job just isn’t a good fit for his Role.”

For any readers who don’t immediately get what I mean, a person’s Role (as identified by our ‘technology of teaming’) describes the manner or mode in which the person seeks to make meaningful contributions to their ‘team’.

In our most recent system activity report, we still hadn’t seen any Mr. Michael Jagger on the list of people who have passed through the Teamability portal. (Mick, I’ll set you up, no charge. Just let me know!) But he gets some props anyway, because he did inspire me to think about what it actually is that brings satisfaction to each Role in a working environment. This is a very important thing to know, because people of different Roles have very different ways taking pride in what they do, and also in how they experience respect and appreciation. This is why any given means of praise, reward, or recognition will work very well with some team members, while others seem indifferent (or even hostile) to it.

Having a source of reliable, actionable ‘Role-specific’ information about creating satisfaction would mean that many more people could be happier at work, and thus, happier when they go home. Happier people, better world. A ‘sixties’ dream achieved.

So, where does satisfaction come from? Let’s take it Role by Role.

For the Founder, it’s all about their vision of the future. Satisfaction happens when they feel and see that other people think it’s a worthy one.

For the Vision Mover, it’s when people clearly express that they really want to go where you’re trying to get them to go, and they just do it.

For the Vision Former, it’s having the opportunity to guide people toward a transformation into their own ‘best self,’ and having them respond and cooperate in that endeavor.

For the Action Mover, it’s a day of having lots to do, getting it done, and being treated like the hero (even though you really don’t think of yourself as one).

For the Action Former, it’s seeing people grow into their job, take on new responsibilities, and getting the smallest acknowledgment that you had something to do with it.

For the Explorer, it’s never being ‘boxed in’ or confined to ordinary or repetitive activities, and experience delight from the people to who you present things that are (or could become) extraordinary.

For the Watchdog, it’s the opportunity to create value, even when the makings of it are a little thin, and having the opportunity to achieve the near-impossible in meeting the needs of the team.

For the Communicator, it’s having the chance to build and sustain a caring, responsive, unified community of belief and faith in the larger vision.

For the Conductor, it’s fixing what’s wrong and doing what’s right for people, whether they know it or not. It also comes from not getting into trouble for trying, because doing what you do so well can sometimes lead to bending (or breaking) the rules.

And, for the Curator, it’s having unlimited access to organizational information, experience, and wisdom; having a place to store and preserve it; and having opportunities to share it with people who respect the true value of such knowledge.

And suddenly, I’m back with Mick, and all of the others who still can’t get any satisfaction. I think I now know the origins of the problem. It’s the same three ‘adverse experiences’ that are common in so many business environments:

  1. He’s getting a lot of ‘useless information’ that’s supposed to fire his imagination, but winds up deadening his sensibilities.
  2. I wonder if he has been repeatedly subjected to boring, formulaic presentations on ‘business innovation’ or ‘engagement’ instead of having genuine opportunities to produce meaningful ideas and solutions to real-world problems.

  3. He’s hearing way too many sound bites that tell him how to look, how to behave, what to expect, and how to launch his ‘personal brand.’
  4. I wonder why he isn’t just appreciating who he is as a unique human being, with many gifts to share with his team, instead of feeling like everyone has to be cut from the same cloth.

  5. He’s trying hard to fit in, but things just aren’t clicking. Something wrong with him? Or with them? Is it the pointy-haired boss’ fault, or is it just a lack of mutual understanding?
  6. Ultimately, we get satisfaction when we have real relationships with other people, starting with our teammates, both at home and at work. And in this context ‘real’ means that each person is recognized as unique, and appreciated for what – and for how – they make their contributions to the team.

Guess what Stones track is playing now? You Got Me Rockin!

Dr. Janice Presser
Dr. Janice Presser is a behavioral scientist, CEO of The Gabriel Institute, thought leader in talent science, author of six books on teams, and architect of Teamability® , the completely new 'technology of teaming'. Launched in 2012, the technology caps a quarter-century of behavioral science R&D, including nine years of software development. Engineered to identify and organize the foundational elements of team activity and team management, Teamability produces true analytics of team chemistry, and delives practical, repeatable business benefits.


  1. We do live in a complex, fast changing, collaborative work and I sometimes long for the simpler life. I’ve had a similar longings before but always concluded that for me life will get much simpler when I’m dead.

    We can’t really go back to simpler times but we can do a lot to manage our lives and our happiness. Understanding my own role is important for making my own choices, but I think it is also important to understand our children’s Roles else we might direct them towards unhappiness.

  2. …and so do employees. Thanks for bringing up that point. The most important part of leadership, whether at home or at work, is empowering and uplifting people – not bringing them down.

  3. Great read! Creative solutions-across the functional spectrum- occur when people TALK. Want to hire great people? Commit to creating more conversations and dump the online resume screening app. Want to be THE place people want to work? Make sure manager actions and performance metrics are congruent with the posters on the office walls.

  4. Thanks, Jeff! Wasn’t it The Fixx who sang “Say what you mean; Mean what you say; One thing leads to another”? All that talk-talk needs to be clear and coherent in order to bring people into alignment. Sad to say, in so many places, while the sentiments on the walls are about respect and trust, the culture supports anything but…


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here