By: Daniel Pink
25 MINUTE AUDIO / 3,000 WORDS (12 PAGES)
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How can you succeed in the contemporary economy where creativity and conceptual work are increasingly valued? How do you motivate your employees to contribute their best to the company’s goals?
The answer to both questions is to recognize that traditional notions of management—using carrots and sticks to motivate workers—are outdated. People do their best creative work when their intrinsic motivation is awakened.
Drive explains the new insights into human motivation uncovered by behavioral scientists and shows how you can tap into the human desire for autonomy and purpose to transform how you live and work.
TOP 20 INSIGHTS
Over the past few decades behavioral scientists have uncovered new insights into human motivation—insights that the business world has yet to discover.
Motivation 1.0 was the drive to survive; Motivation 2.0 was based on external rewards and punishments for work done. It was an operating system that saw workers as parts in a complicated machine, needing rewards and punishments to perform routine, algorithmic tasks.
Today’s economies depend more and more on creative, heuristic work. Neither Motivation 1.0 nor Motivation 2.0 can explain the success of Wikipedia; nor are they effective for the kinds of work called for in the twenty-first century economy.
The enthusiasm and creativity that are increasingly needed in the modern workplace are actually dampened by the external rewards-and-punishments approach of traditional business.
For artists, scientists, students, in fact everyone, intrinsic motivation—the drive to do something because it is interesting and absorbing—is essential for creativity. External rewards crush this intrinsic motivation.
Motivation 3.0 calls for a new type of behavior: Type I, or intrinsic motivation. This is based on the innate inner drive of all humans to be autonomous, self-determined, and connected to one another.
Outdated notions of management encourage Type X behavior that cares more about the external rewards that a task can bring and less about the inherent satisfaction of a task.
Type X behavior is learned, whereas Type I is inherent to being human; traditional management approaches change our human default setting from Type I into Type X.
With a focus on personal fulfillment, Type I almost always outperforms Type X in the long run; encouraging Type I behavior is better for people’s physical and mental well-being.
Humans are designed to be active and engaged. We are at our best when we are doing something that involves autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
Autonomy is not the same as independence; it means acting with choice. Autonomous motivation brings greater conceptual understanding, higher productivity, and less burn-out.
People need autonomy over what they do (task); when they do it (time); who they do it with (team); and how they do it (technique). Best Buy has boosted productivity by embracing these concepts of autonomy.
Motivation 3.0 assumes that people want to be accountable, and that giving them autonomy will encourage this.
Mastery, the urge to make progress and get better at what we do, is essential to making one’s way in today’s economy. The modern workplace tends to disregard mastery and engagement, and instead emphasizes compliance.
The only way to attain mastery is through engagement, prizing learning goals over performance goals and recognizing the intrinsic value of effort as a way to improve at something that matters.
There are three rules of mastery: it is a mindset; it is a pain; and it is an asymptote (something that can be approached but is never attained).
Traditional businesses see purpose as ornamental and something that should not get in the way of more important pursuits. Motivation 3.0 realizes that purpose is an essential part of the human condition.
Forward-thinking organizations and corporations such as TOMS Shoes recognize purpose maximization alongside profit maximization as an aspiration and guiding principle. They embrace the “purpose motive”—using profit to reach a purpose.
You can awaken your Motivation 3.0 by looking for patterns in your daily tasks and asking yourself what are the tasks that produce feelings of flow, that moment of optimal experience when the challenge you face is perfectly matched with your abilities. Make a “to don’t” list of the tasks and behaviors you want to avoid.
To unleash Motivation 3.0 in your company or group, carve out time for non-commissioned work. As a boss, encourage Type I behavior by relinquishing control.
Most businesses have yet to catch up on the insights into human motivation that have been uncovered by behavioral scientists in recent years. The traditional business view focuses on Type X behavior, using external rewards and punishments to motivate workers. But today’s economy increasingly calls for creative and heuristic forms of work that require Type I behavior that is focused on active and engaged employees with autonomy and a sense of purpose. This is Motivation 3.0, appealing to our intrinsic self-motivation. The most forward-thinking companies recognize the need to embrace this human drive and pursue profit as a catalyst toward a higher purpose.
Thousands of years ago, the human drive was focused on survival. We can call this drive, or operating system, Motivation 1.0. As society became more complex, so did our operating system. We came to realize that humans are more than just the sum of our biological urges; we developed a second operating system, Motivation 2.0, which was focused on external rewards and punishments. Harnessing this drive became essential to economic progress, especially during the last two centuries, as business saw workers as parts in a complicated machine. The bedrock assumption of Motivation 2.0, which is now deeply ingrained in our organizations and daily lives, is that the way to improve performance, increase productivity, and encourage excellence is to reward the good and punish the bad.
This operating system worked for routine tasks, but it’s incompatible with how we work in the twenty-first century.
Consider: the largest and most popular encyclopedia in the world was created by tens of thousands of people who write and edit the articles for fun. They have no special qualifications and they are not paid a dime for their work. The conventional view of human motivation has a very hard time explaining Wikipedia.
Behavioral scientists divide what we do on the job into algorithmic tasks—those with set instructions and processes that can be outsourced or automated—and heuristic tasks—those that require you to experiment and create. In the twentieth century, most work was algorithmic; today more and more work is heuristic. And while extrinsic or external rewards and punishments can motivate someone doing routine work, they actually dampen the enthusiasm and creativity of someone doing the kind of creative, heuristic work on which modern economies depend.
Motivation 3.0 is the upgrade necessary for the smooth functioning of twenty-first century business.
No more carrots and sticks
The traditional reward-and-punishment system works fine in some settings but it’s a deeply unreliable predictor of human behavior. We need a new way to think about motivation.
If you want to motivate a child to learn math, you might think it a good idea to encourage her with a payment for every workbook page she completes—but social science research has shown that while this may encourage her in the short-term, it will actually turn the task of doing math into a chore, and she’ll lose interest in the long-term. Tangible “if-then” rewards can wipe out intrinsic motivation, diminish performance, crush creativity, and crowd out good behavior.
For artists, scientists, inventors, students, in fact everyone, intrinsic motivation—the drive to do something because it is interesting and absorbing—is essential for creativity. The economy is moving towards…