What motivates us?

Just finished reading a great book with the byline “The surprising truth about what motivates us”… the author is Dan Pink and the book is titled “Drive”. It is a really good read (like all Dan Pink books — I’m definitely a fan) and continues with Pink’s usual theme of exploring — from some perspective or other  —  the future of work.

In this case he is exploring human motivation and he comes down firmly on the side of  intrinsic motivators (Type I) being superior (in most cases, and specifically when the work is creative and not extremely mechanistic) to the more classical “carrot and stick” (punishment or reward) extrinsic motivators (Type X). Not surprisingly, Pink introduces his readers to the new methodologies of ROWE (Results Only Work Environment) which is something I have blogged about previously as the natural evolution of modern work…

Here is a great 10 minute video of his book and work that is as entertaining as it is informative — in my view the take-aways are:

  • for businesses — think hard about redesigning your employee engagement processes and your incentive systems to get better motivation;
  • for individuals — concentrate on some of Pink’s questions and approaches to help you determine when you are “in flow” and what things you really like doing. Then do an inventory of current “motivators” that are in place in your work environment and decide for yourself whether they are in fact truly motivating you to higher performance.
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