RELISH MODEL - six social cognitive needs driving human motivation and optimal team performance

The Six Social Cognitive Needs that drive behaviour and performance

Recent breakthroughs in neuroscience have provided insights into the drivers behind all human behaviour.

Instead of relying on control, leaders can focus on the needs and motivations behind human behaviour. This approach can lead to significantly increased performance and a much greater engagement.


These needs are what drive individual, team and organisational performance and they underpin critical leadership decision-making. These six social cognitive needs provide a new lens through which leaders can view the complexity and intricacies of human behaviour. They reveal the core elements of human motivation and offer a comprehensive approach for leaders to understand themselves and others in the team environment.


The need to relate and belong

(In a team: Psychological Safety)


The need to express emotions

(In a team: Creative Friction)

Leading the Pack

The need to achieve

(In a team: Execution Cadence)

Interpersonal Connection

The need to be understood

(In a team: Cognitive Diversity)

Seeing the Facts

The need to learn

(In a team: Learning Loops)

Hope for the Future

The need for optimism

(In a team: Future Proofing)

The RELISH model provides a comprehensive guide to human behaviour and helps us to understand the different functions of the brain. It explains how each individual aspect of the brain is necessary to create our personalities, which in turn, drive engagement and influence others. Each person has different strengths and weaknesses, and some people are higher than others in some of these social needs. As a result, some leaders succeed in certain fields more than others.

By understanding and applying RELISH, we can engage people in each of these six areas - whether it's in a meeting or during a difficult conversation. By doing so, we are much more likely to create a dynamic team that works together and minimises its blind spots.

If you want to llearn more on how you can apply RELISH, please join us at our upcoming event

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