During my academic career I have been made to read theories about motivation over and over again until the point of exhaustion. When I heard about Daniel Pink’s book Drive I assumed it would be another dull explanation of Herzberg’s hygiene theory. I literally couldn’t have been more wrong.
Pink is a real enthusiast for really ‘driving’ business productivity by using our most valuable assets- people. But how do we get people to do things? We offer incentives, often in the form of money. Money’s great, it can make the most painstakingly boring tasks bearable but Pink highlights that money is not the best way to improve business performance.
What Pink states is not new as professionals like Herzberg have been telling us for years that these extrinsic factors are damaging to employee motivation. However, Pinks charisma and ability to match this research to recent trends make you really think about your business and what matters for you.
It’s no secret that we are in a tough economic climate at the moment and small businesses are finding it harder and harder to survive. So why is there a mismatch between what science knows and what business does? Pink simply says ‘stop doing things wrong’. Seems simple to me.
Motivation goes beyond reward and punishment and it’s time for businesses to update their ‘operating system’ towards one of autonomy, mastery and purpose. What better way to be motivated than having your own time to complete a task of your choice? We all want to do what we love and being given this control at work is only going to improve productivity. Pink uses Googles 20% time as an example. All engineers are allowed to spend 20% of their time on a project of their choice – absolutely anything! Gmail and Google news are results of this method. An easy method with amazing results, not bad hey?
Drive certainly highlights that creativity is best when autonomy, mastery and purpose are allowed. Extrinsic rewards could be restricting the genius in you, there might even be another Sergey Brin among us!
Drive really is an inspirational read even on a personal level. Pink asks you to think about your sentence, a few words that define you and then to ask yourself each night ‘was I better than yesterday?’ It might seem like a ridiculous self-indulgence thing to do but in actual fact it will give you purpose and clear direction.
Renowned for his excellent insights and trend watching Pink’s words of wisdom can be used by entrepreneurs to tap into the energy of their employees from the beginning and get ahead on what is sure to be an organisational trend. In a time of economic uncertainty Drive offers a creative and inspirational way of doing business and doing it easier.
Get a glimpse of Daniel Pink’s inspirational thoughts from this TED conference talk: