• Andrew Greatrex

Drive in an Australian Government Agency

An Australian State Public Sector Government has approximately 110,000 employees mainly located in the Capital and undertook our Workshop based on Daniel H. Pink's book 'Drive: The Surprising Truth about what Motivates us' and great things started to happen.

Following completion of the Drive workshop according to their lead source they embarked on a number of successful initiatives.


We created a Purpose video for staff. Our Purpose became “Better Services for a better State'. This has been hugely successful for us and all our employees and is extremely well received.

We also showed the video 'What’s your sentence' and have all staff including Executives complete the What's Your Sentence' activity to clarify their own purpose.


Public servants are able to submit an idea for a project that they think will improve productivity in the service or create benefits to the South Australia Community. To create momentum, they must work to a timeframe of 90 days, but they are given autonomy on who they work with and how they develop solutions to complicated, across government problems. The freedom to tackle problems has meant the government has been able to create solutions to “stuck” problems, or create positive change for the community. These projects vary from things like addressing chronic non-attendance at school, or improving discharge of complex patients into aged care, to faster forensic reporting for timely criminal prosecutions, or making a plumber license easier.


The Public service used 'Growth Mindset' by Carol Dweck as a foundation to a change project in an organization. All executives were educated about Growth Mindset and asked to identify their teams mindset and how this could impact the agility of the organization to change. One agency incorporated Growth Mindset into their core competencies, ran workshops on it and developed a toolkit to help people develop a growth mindset.

To ensure people get better and better at things each staff member is committed to one hour a week of mastery around the principle “getting better at stuff”. This has been a key driver to a learning culture and Mastery. We had discovered while many people had attended some training this Mastery component was directed at the individual’s ability to get better at things that matter and was quite a change for the majority of people.


We have also utilized the Drive principles for our revised Organizational Values.

Our employees DID NOT want values such as Honesty, Respect, Trust – these were already givens. They preferred more motivating values with a behavioral descriptor. When referring to non controlling language, Dan Pink wrote, “a small change in wording can help engagement over compliance".

As such our values are:

Show we care – We care about our purpose, the people we serve and the people we work with

Build Trusted Relationships – we collaborate to build strong and positive relationships

Deliver results – we contribute constructively and are accountable for delivering great results

Strive to be better – we continually strive to do things smarter, better and more cost effectively

Performance Management

We reviewed our Performance Management process and included Autonomy and Mastery in the discussion with employees. We banished the once a year performance review. The current system involves aligning individual objectives to purpose (individuals co-create the objectives), and minimum 6 weekly formal feedback (the day to day stuff should still happen). Of course, there is a development plan included so that people can get better.

Leadership Labs

We have just scoped out some leadership labs within the State Department to connect, develop and inspire our leaders. The lab will be a creative space where leaders can take out some time for non-commissioned work (or thinking), participate in discussions, listen to guest speakers, do some reflective exercises, etc. We plan to hold further sessions on Purpose and how to help their people connect, one on Autonomy (where they will do a Drive audit and then work out how they can help their teams/business units get more autonomy), and one on Mastery (where leaders will seek self-directed feedback or have the opportunity to practice a skill in a safe space).

The power of what has been achieved can not be understated nor the ability to reach so many people especially in an environment which others in the non-government sector and community feel rigid.

The benefits are far reaching.

For further information about how you can be involved in the Drive Workshops visit