Jenn Reviews “Drive: The Suprising Truth About What Motivates Us” by Daniel H. Pink
There’s a gap between what science knows and what business does when it comes to motivation. In this space there is great potential for lost creativity and engagement which can lead to a decrease in quality problem-solving and overall well-being of employees. Human motivation has evolved from its first version (what author, Daniel Pink, jokingly refers to as Version 1.0) survival, to Version 2.0, extrinsic motivation (rewards and punishments as motivators) to science’s current understanding known as Version 3.0 or intrinsic motivation (internally derived motivators).
In short, what study after study show is that human beings have a natural desire, or intrinsic motivation for, three things: (1) autonomy – to be self-directed, (2) mastery – the desire to continually grow and become better at something that matters, and (3) purpose – giving of our time and energy to something larger than our self.
And in today’s knowledge-based and increasingly creative work environments, it’s these characteristics that not only keep employees happy, healthy and motivated – they get the job done. In contrast, the generally mechanistic work of the 20th century that arose from the industrial revolution fit well with the notion that to perform optimally, employees needed incentives in the forms of rewards or punishment. This notion of extrinsic motivation worked incredibly well – and still does for many tasks! But it’s not the complete picture; perhaps most disturbing in Pink’s account of motivation is the fact that in many cases, extrinsic motivators can decrease performance. For example, school children who are given endless prizes for attaining reading benchmarks (say, reading five books per month) may see a sharp rise in motivation to read in the short-term, but often lose their long-term interest in, and motivation for, reading. The same is true in the workplace; for those more creative tasks (think software development; client engagement, etc.) there is often a tipping point where increased extrinsic rewards – such as money – constrict creative thinking and lead to less satisfying and viable solutions.
The good news is that we can all learn what Pink refers to as Type I behavior (as opposed to the extrinsically motivated Type X behavior). Type I behavior is more concerned with the inherent satisfaction of doing a job than the external rewards such an activity might bring. The bottom line is that Type I behavior is not only good for the bottom-line in many businesses, it’s also proven to lead to stronger performance, greater health and higher overall well-being! This is a great read (and an even better listen if you enjoy audio books) with many interesting and helpful resources; it’s applicable for everyone from business leaders to parents. I’ve included a few links below for further exploration! Happy reading 😊