I’ve recently been listening to a compelling audiobook about motivation, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, which author Daniel Pink says is about “the mismatch between what science knows, and what business does.”
Pink calls for a “new operating system” for business that focuses not on the extrinsic “carrot and stick” incentives, but on factors that contribute to intrinsic motivation. Carrots and sticks, or “if/then” rewards, not only don’t work (in most circumstances): they’re usually harmful and counterproductive, particularly for non-routine work.
Pink says the three key elements of what he calls “Motivation 3.0” are:
- Autonomy – giving employees control over their tasks, time, team and technique.
- Mastery – Becoming better at something that matters. Carrots and sticks can produce compliance, but only engagement can produce mastery.
- Purpose – “Humans by nature seek purpose, a cause greater and more enduring than themselves. But traditional businesses have long considered purpose ornamental: a perfectly nice accessory, so long as it didn’t get in the way of the important things.”
When I tweeted about reading this book, my friend Lucien Engelen (@Zorg20) tweeted back a link to a post he had done for the TEDxMaastricht blog that included a video of Dan Pink from the TED Global 2009 conference. I’ve embedded that video below, because it provides a good introduction to Pink’s ideas. I hope it gives you enough of a taste that you’ll get the book, either via audio (on Audible) or in printed form.
In a future post I will discuss how social media can help cultivate intrinsic motivation, or what Pink calls “Type I” behavior. Meanwhile, you can get his book on Amazon. I highly recommend it.
Update: Wow! Check out this video that was mentioned in the comments below. Fantastic summary/visualization of Drive!