Last week a news story reached out through my TV screen and made me ask the question; does personal drive in the workplace still matter?

Let me explain.

It’s Wednesday night and I am watching the evening news, catching up after another busy day.  The sports news came on, the headline was the story that a twenty-five-year-old tennis star was retiring from the sport. The caption was that the star had ‘achieved all of their goals, ambitions and had nothing left to prove.’ Being honest, when I first heard tennis I did not pay attention, but then I heard the interview in the background, and the tennis player did say they had ‘achieved everything, and had nothing left to give physically, or emotionally.’ I was captivated.

My first reaction was shock and annoyance.

How on earth can you have achieved everything by twenty-five years old in any profession? Surely everyone was like me, and still working out life, or at least attempting to in their early 20’s?! My second reaction, and I am going to be honest, was ‘oh come on, just take a nice holiday, or break from the sport and come back fresh. No-one is that physically tired, surely?!’

Even as I type the above words there is still that bit of me, which can’t believe anyone has achieved everything by such a young age. I should be clear, its not to say huge success cannot happen at any age, it can. It is just the ‘I have nothing left to give aspect’ which got me thinking. Why? As it resonates with many calls I seem to be having with people about work currently.

This interview and news article really got me thinking about personal drive.

Firstly, I went off to investigate the tennis star, who I now know is Ashleigh Barty. It turns out Ashleigh has got some serious game on the tennis court and has achieved a lot, fair play Ashleigh.

Secondly, I went off and Googled personal drive, and anything else linked to the word drive. I also discussed it with others, all reported back similar things, ‘drive is the wrong word to focus on.’

If you google personal drive, really it just throws up a whole host of other words, which in my opinion is going the long way round in describing, well, drive!

Is the decision by Ashleigh Barty one that shows a lack of drive and by extension ambition? Or is it actually a brave one, as the start will no doubt go on and succeed in other things? Transferring to the real world of work and life, this whole topic made me think; are we going through a period when personal work drive matters less?

Why do I say this? Well, I have been working across recruitment for over 15 years, so you do see, hear, and take part in lots of conversation about work, and people’s mindset to work. There is no doubt views have changed over that time, and right now we are going through what I think should be called the ‘great re-alignment.’ However, with the jobs market as skewed as it is currently, with demand to hire so high in many areas, and wages rising faster than the price of petrol, is this having an effect on our drive to succeed in work?

Does drive even matter anymore, or is it out of the window? Is this period of such high demand to hire, retain our teams at all costs combined with not enough new resources to fill open roles, the perfect ‘anti-drive’ storm? Does this storm put less pressure on the individual to focus on their personal drive? Going one step further, is drive just an old-fashioned view of the working world that is no longer relevant?

It makes me feel sad to think that drive no longer matters, but I would be lying if I did not say it had not crossed my mind.

If drive does still matter, especially to organisations looking to grow and hire, then how are they assessing this? Drive has always been difficult to assess, even more so right now. Just Google ‘how to assess drive in the workplace,’ and you will find a reem of articles about driving licenses and lessons,  not personal drive.

For me drive is what keeps us going, what pushes us through the hard days at work, and makes us keep coming back for more, but I am aware that this view might be coming outdated.

What do you think? Does drive matter anymore? Do you know what is driving you? Do you know what is personally driving your team members to push for success in the workplace? Do you know how to assess someone’s drive?

Why is this drive important? For me drive is another example of the hurdle’s organisations need to navigate as they look to hire in the current climate. In a similar way to the article I wrote earlier this week about ‘why do you work,’ drive is another interesting layer which needs addressing as we navigate the current challenges of hiring.

The impact of demand outstripping supply in relation to the recruitment market really has changed what we need to be thinking about when hiring, drive is just another example of that.

With this in mind, have you changed your approach to hiring to navigate the current climate?

This article was written by Simon Brown, Founder of Digital 51. Do you agree with Simon that drive is currently going through a period of change within the workforce, or is this an outdated view? Reach out to Simon and tell him your thoughts on