Frequently Asked Questions

How is MDNA different?

MDNA is different from other assessments because it focuses on intrinsic motivation and impact on social DNA. Many have told us that MDNA “goes deeper.” While other frameworks focus on psychological temperament or strengths, MDNA answers the question, “why we do what we do” from a social perspective. Psychological temperament and strength inventories are of no value without intrinsic motivation and engagement to use them. Therefore starting with intrinsic motivation, which is embedded into your social DNA, is the first key to professional success and personal fulfillment—complete transformation.

What is the social science behind MDNA?

The MDNA methodology is supported by social psychology called Self Determination Theory which was made mainstream by the best-selling book Drive: The Surprising Truth of What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink. The social science cited in Drive was pioneered by Edward L. Deci, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and Gowen Professor in the Social Sciences at the University of Rochester, and director of its human motivation program. Deci also collaborated with Richard M. Ryan an American professor of psychology, psychiatry and education, also at the University of Rochester.

Do gifts ever change?

This is a common question. In our years of observation, we have concluded that at least one of an individual’s top two gifts does not change. One gift, typically the primary, stays constant. If both do change, it is most likely because the MDNA was improperly identified or certain gifts were suppressed for some reason. Unfortunately, the individual MDNA assessment is not infallible.

Can we use the other gifts?

We all have the capacity to successfully operate in all seven gifts. The MDNA assessment will help you identify your top two most dominant gifts then create a spectrum across all seven gifts. Looking at your spectrum you can then see how the other gifts between your top two play a role in your own intrinsic motivations.

What is a Legitimacy Gap?

At the core of the human condition is the need for security and significance. We feel secure when we love and are loved by others. Significance is derived from knowing we can have an impact in the world and make a difference. When we are secure and significant, we feel legitimate. We have purpose and are affirmed and rewarded for our passion and potential. Simply put, a Legitimacy Gap is when we identify more with what we do, how well we perform using our gifts, than who we are. A Legitimacy Gap occurs when we judge. We may, for example, judge ourselves, another person or a situation to be “good.” If something is judged to be good, then there must necessarily be the opposite; in this case, what is “bad” about ourselves, that person or situation. The distance between these two opposites is what we have dubbed the Legitimacy Gap.

What should be done about Legitimacy Gaps?

For those that may feel discouraged after realizing their own Legitimacy Gap, take heart. A Legitimacy Gap is also a sign of the wonderful possibilities your gift represents. It is all about perspective. If you are willing to be open and honest with yourself, the Legitimacy Gap can become a launch point for personal development and growth. Once you are free to receive your security and significance outside of any judgment upon your performance, there is nothing to impede your journey towards professional success and personal fulfillment.

What is Brand Culture?

It has been proven that a leader’s unique social DNA is imprinted on the organization they lead. Social DNA is the fingerprint of a leader’s promise and personality that shapes the entire organization. Because of this, two organizations from the same industry could feature an identical business model, but be vastly different because of who leads them. Over the years, we have observed patterns in how different gifts lead to common core competencies within a particular organization. We call this Brand Culture. Brand Culture has vast implications, from business model innovation and corporate branding, to mergers and acquisitions and succession planning.

How does the MDNA 3.0 spectrum work?

To understand your MDNA results, here is Ed Kang creator of MDNA.