What science knows and business does are two different things...
Apr 9, 2013
When it comes to motivating people on the job, what is the most common approach? It's the carrot-and-stick. But Daniel Pink makes a case that what science knows and business does are two entirely different things. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us was an interesting read about how studies have shown that autonomy, mastery, and purpose are the real drivers of motivation in today's world, and business needs to shift their practices to account for this change.
Contents: Introduction Part One - A New Operating System: The Rise and Fall of Motivation 2.0; Seven Reasons Carrots and Sticks (Often) Don't Work...; ... and the Special Circumstances When They Do; Type I and Type X Part Two - The Three Elements: Autonomy; Mastery; Purpose Part Three - The Type I Toolkit: Type I for Individuals - Nine Strategies for Awaking Your Motivation; Type I for Organizations - Nine Ways to Improve Your Company, Office, or Group; The Zen of Compensation - Paying People the Type I Way; Type I for Parents and Educators - Nine Ideas for Helping Our Kids; The Type I Reading List - Fifteen Essential Books; Listen to the Gurus - Six Business Thinkers Who Get It; The Type I Fitness Plan - Four Tips for Getting (and Staying) Motivated to Exercise; Drive - The Recap; Drive - The Glossary; The Drive Discussion Guide - Twenty Conversation Starters to Keep You Thinking and Talking; Find Out More - About Yourself and This Topic Acknowledgments; Notes; Index
Pink does a good job in tying together scientific research and practical business application. There has indeed been a generational shift in the workforce, but little change (by and large) in how organizations motivate their workforce. The differences between industrial/assembly line work and knowledge work are many, and it's not surprising that incentives for assembling widgets don't work quite as well on those who are building creative solutions to problems. But as Pink points out, the status quo of how people are motivated to work harder hasn't been questioned as part of that change.
While the book runs 240 pages, the core content only takes up slightly more than half that space. The toolkit section at the end takes his autonomy/mastery/purpose concepts and draws some applications to actual real-life areas (and not all business-related, either). You could make the argument that it's padding to something that would be a much smaller book, but I see it more as a built-in reader's guide to the content. I especially appreciated the chapter summaries he provides as a way to spur my memory on the essential points.
Drive is worth reading if you're running a business or you're in charge of employees and staff. Even though you might still be constrained in being able to implement some of these ideas on a large scale, it will provide food for thought and has the potential for improving the productivity and motivation of those you lead.