Motivation and Daniel H. Pink

Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink. Riverhead Books, 2009 In Drive, Pink compellingly challenges the old assumptions about how to “motivate” people and repair the mismatch between what science knows and what business does. Humans have evolved and so has their motivational factors. Societies, like computers have operating systems and needs constant upgrades. In primitive stages, survival and biological needs motivated us (Motivation version 1. 0).

As society became more complex-our survival was no more a threat: we found solace in tangible and materialistic things (Motivation version 2. 0). This gave way to Carrot and stick method to reward and punish the employees. This theory is wrong and outdated, ample of references to various psychological and academic research prove this. We are now ready for a motivational upgrade-says Pink. We are not horses-carrots cannot tempt us, stick doesn’t scare us. Something bigger than carrot has to motivate us.

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When sheer joy drives us to do the work-we have upgraded our operating system (Motivation version 3. 0). The book focuses on two types of motivations: Intrinsic and Extrinsic. The author argues that extrinsic motivation dampens the long-term goal, hampers performance, and increases errors. Psychologist Sam Gluckenberg in 1960’s conducted a ‘Candle experiment’ -participants got: a candle, bunch of matches, box of tacks. They had to fix the candle to a wall. Solution was to empty the tacks box use the box as a platform for the candle and nail the holder to the wall.

Gluckenberg observed that reward-free participants finished faster than the paid participants. He concluded, focusing on the reward distracted and interfered with the participants’ ability to perform the task. There are 3 influence factors of intrinsic motivation (Motivation Version 3. 0): Autonomy (ownership for our actions), Mastery (steadily work towards what we enjoy doing), and Purpose (being part of something bigger than ourselves). External motivation feels trivial when compared to internal motivation.

Google attributes its ability for innovation to uncontrolled 20% of creative time given to its employees. Mark Twain explains this well in his book ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’, he writes “Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do, and that Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do. ” Who knew, that one day little Tom sawyer would end as inspirational guru in a ‘Motivation book. ’ Pink acknowledges that extrinsic motivation cannot be totally ruled out.

Monetary benefits drive routine and repetitive jobs (Type X) versus intrinsic drive inspires creative and heuristic work (Type I). I disagree, with this classification of people. Individuals are different-so are their choices, we should not judge it. Money motivates, not always. Drive explains this in a scientific manner. Pink is not an economist, may be that helped him keep the topic light and entertaining. Interesting case studies replace the normal array of Motivational theories. This read kindles; new thoughts and ideas to self motivate and exhilarate people around us.

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