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March 28 , 2017

Quicklet on Daniel H. Pink's Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

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Quicklet on TED Talks: Dan Pink on the surprising science of motivation (CliffNotes-like Summary)

ABOUT THE BOOK When it comes to what motivates us at work, the conventional wisdom is money. It’s long been established that if you want to motivate someone to do a better job, you pay them well and provide financial incentives to do an even better job. In companies throughout the United States and much the world, employees eagerly anticipate the…

In Drive, Daniel Pink makes the case that its time to rethink our business practices. The contemporary view of motivation is that if you want people to perform better, you give them contingent rewards or threaten them with punishments. For many twenty-first century tasks, however, contingent rewards, such as monetary incentives, do not work. Incentives narrow focus and restrict possibility, so theyre only effective for tasks that have clear set of rules and obvious solutions.

Too many organizations make decisions based on management assumptions that are outdated and often do more harm than good. The old way of thinking about motivation led to the collapse of the financial system in 2008 and had repercussions throughout the global economy. The stakes are too high to keep operating under a flawed, business as usual mentality.

MEET THE AUTHOR

Paula Braun is a recovering bureaucrat. On a whim, she took a one-year assignment in Iraq and followed it with another one-year assignment in Afghanistan. After that, she needed a break, so she semi-retired and joined a bridge club. To support her bridge habit, she entered the glamorous world of freelance writing. You can follow Paula on twitter @paula_braun, friend her on Facebook, or read her lenses on Squidoo: http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/PaulaSquidoo.

EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK

The conventional view of human motivation is not only outdated, its ill-prepared to handle how we organize what we do, how we think about what we do, and how we do what we do. People are not robots programmed to maximize profits. We all have internal motivators and seek self-direction. Continuing to operate out of the old conventional view hampers our economic progress.

Rewards and punishments often lead to the opposite of their intended aims. They give us less of what we want by extinguishing intrinsic motivation, diminishing performance, crushing creativity, and crowding out good behavior. They also give us more of what we dont want by encouraging cheating, shortcuts, and unethical behavior, becoming addictive, and fostering short-term thinking.

There are times when incentives and other if-then type external rewards work, but they often backfire because, by design, they limit our focus and foster short-term thinking. In general, the less people feel controlled, the better they will perform in the long run.

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