Achieving change & transformation: What motivates us? – Dan Pink explains


A friend forwarded me the video below, a must see from Dan Pink, author of Drive and A Whole New Mind.

Key takeaways for motivating knowledge workers:

  • Pay people so that money is a non-issue
    This flies in the face of traditional motivation schema – such as bonuses and pay for performance mantras. Carrots and sticks work for repeatable or physical tasks, but not for cognitive tasks. If you don’t pay people enough, they won’t be motivated. If you do they can focus on the work and the following three items come into play…
  • Allow autonomy which allows people to explore passions and ideas
    We have all heard about companies that allow a number of hours each week/month to pursue an interest loosely related to work. Turns our this is a great source of innovation and growth potential to companies that are able to harness the creative energy of their talent.
  • Enable mastery, which challenges us to be better and is inherently rewarding to contribute
    Learning to master a skill is fun and motivating. This is why people play instruments or sports on the weekend. Dan highlights this is a driver of open-source software (e.g. Linux, Apache).
  • Purpose provides a personal connection and allows us to be self-directed in a common way
    Lack of meaning at work can lead to crappy products, poor performance or even corrupt behavior in some cases. People are looking for organizations that clearly understand and can articulate their contribution to the world. This provides context and a guide to an employees in directing their own contribution.
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