How to Measure Drive

June 7, 2019 Evan Theys


The language of driven-related behavior at work is all around us. We drive for results. We drive team performance. We identify growth drivers. Typically, having ‘drive’ is considered positively – and a person with low drive may be perceived as lacking stamina or having low energy for what is needed. But that isn’t always the case and, as with all behaviors, there are pros and cons to this trait regardless of where it falls on the continuum.

The question is, how can drive be assessed reliably?

Drive is one of the areas measured in our ADEPT-15® personality questionnaire and forms part of the Task Style (and goes hand in hand with Structure). The Task Style is one of three broad workstyles which forms the Performance Style. The Performance Style workstyles examine an individual’s internal motivations and individual efforts as well as his or her preferences, attitudes, and approaches to work and ideas.

How is Drive Seen in Behavior?

The Drive aspect of ADEPT-15® measures reliability and task focus. It means that a person’s score will be seen in how he or she approaches deadlines and deals with changing priorities. As with all personality characteristics there is not a single ideal score. We list below the behaviors we may need to watch out for – or leverage – depending on where on the scale we fall.

The Leverage Points

Those scoring high on this aspect are likely to be:

  • Deadline-oriented.
  • Highly focused on accomplishing tasks.
  • Reliable and to follow through and deliver on commitments.
  • Persistent in accomplishing difficult tasks requiring perseverance.

Those scoring low tend to be:

  • Easy going and relaxed.
  • Able to shift from task-to-task.
  • Capable of handling changing priorities.

The Watch-Outs

Watch out for the following with high-scorers on Drive. They may be:

  • Overly focused on getting things done.
  • Liking to focus on one task without interruptions.
  • Setting lofty goals and working with a laser-like focus toward achieving them – and this may mean that they miss opportunities to work on other important tasks, or to reflect on alternate strategies to reach goals.

Also, watch out for the following with low-scorers on Drive. They may be:

  • Less concerned with meeting deadlines and view them as flexible.
  • Less likely to focus on a single task for extended periods and may get distracted.
  • Likely to procrastinate.
  • Less interested in difficult tasks that require sustained attention or perseverance.

The Role of Drive in the Workplace

We’ve seen that an understanding of an individual’s level of drive, suggests how he or she might approach and focus on tasks. But drive also plays a part in other aspects of work behavior.

Resilience / Grit

Individuals with high Drive are consistently determined to achieve goals and drive results, even when faced with setbacks or failures. As such, they are relentless and will use whatever means necessary to overcome challenges and obstacles.

Taking Initiative

Those high on Drive are more proactive than others as they actively and preemptively take on responsibility and make progress at work without direction from others.

Holding Self and Others Accountable

Because individuals that score highly on Drive are more focused on meeting deadlines and completing tasks, they are more included to set clear expectations and time limits to hold themselves and others accountable for completing assignments and achieving goals.

Compensating for the Drive Score

Depending on one’s Drive score, we find it useful to check out scores on other ADEPT-15 aspects to see how these may temper or compensate for Watch-Outs.

For example, when Drive scores are low, we like to look for:

  • Higher Ambition scores or a successful track record of accomplishments. The Ambition score reflects the extent to which someone is career-oriented and focused on achieving bold goals. Such internal motivation to ensure career success may compensate for a low Drive score.

Generally, high Drive scores are not an issue. However:

  • Lower Ambition scores might help achieve work-life balance.

For more about assessing drive, take a look at our personality questionnaire ADEPT-15® 


About ADEPT-15®

ADEPT-15® is the most advanced, secure, and award-winning* personality test available. With over 50 years of personality, leadership, and psychometric research combined with an adaptive approach to assessment design, ADEPT-15® measures 15 personality traits critical to successful workplace performance. It looks at our preferences, work styles and tendencies as well as what gives us energy and our possible blind spots. It indicates our strengths and areas for development as well as the leadership style we may use, and how others may see us.

*M. Scott Myers Award for Applied Research & International Personnel Assessment Council Innovations in Assessment Award

About the Author

Evan Theys

Evan serves as the leader for Aon's Assessment Solutions Product Development team in North America. In this role, he manages and supports the development of innovative, forward-thinking assessment solutions, and partners with leaders across Aon to develop the strategy for the global products portfolio as well as bringing new products to market.

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