What really motivates us

February 2, 2012 | By | 1 Reply More

A lot of businesses (and government organizations) are faced with the problem of how to motivate employees in general, and in difficult economic times in particular. I read Daniel Pink’s Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us last night and had one of those face-palm “wow” moments. I can’t call it an epiphany because it came from the book, but I can say that something “clicked.”

Dan Pink summarizes his observations:

When it comes to motivation, there’s a gap between what science knows and what business does. Our current business operating system which is built around external, carrot-and-stick motivators doesn’t work and often does harm. We need an upgrade. And the science shows the way. This new approach has three essential elements:
(1) Autonomy: the desire to direct our own lives;
(2) Mastery: the urge to get better and better at something that matters; and
(3) Purpose: the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.

Pink spoke on this at TEDGlobal in 2009.

I recommend the book to anyone in a management (I prefer “leadership”) position.

As his subtitle suggests, you may be surprised.


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Category: Psychology Cognition

About the Author ()

Jim is a husband of more than 27 years, father of four home-schooled sons (26, 23, 16 and 14), engineer delighting in virtually all things technical, with more than a passing interest in history, religions, arts, most sciences (particularly physics) and skepticism.

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  1. Thomas Edison did this with his men, and look what THEY did. Good video, thanks! And he’s right.

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