Drive:- The surprising truth about what motivates us

The Founder of Inspire Leadership & focuses on unlocking people’s potential by providing them with programs; mentorship and coaching into high performance

By Charles Eisenstein

Over the past years, there has been a gap between what science knows and what business does. The current business operating system- which is built around external, carrot-and-stick motivators does more harm than motivation. In this book, Daniel Pink highlights three new operating elements that businesses and employers should pick up when it comes to motivating their employees. 

These three elements are: autonomy- giving people direct control over their environment and their working lives, mastery- the urge to get better and better at something that matters and purpose- the desire to do what you do in the service of something larger than yourself. If you give human beings the possibility of achieving these three elements, you will have little need for crude incentives. 

The initial mindset that motivated most people to work was survival. The circumstances built around these meant that if one does not work, they will not eat. As much as this is quite a motivator, survival motivation can only go as far for most of us especially those who still have jobs. 

The other mindset that came next is the "carrot and stick" operating mindset. This implies that one might get a bonus if they do a particularly good job and one might get laid off if they do not. In this book, Pink states that this operating system only works best for rote work, and these days most jobs across the world involve very little rote. 

In recent years, science has picked up some other types of operating systems which has proven to be more effective than the other two. People are prone to work harder and produce great results when the work involves these elements. If they have good autonomy in how they do their work they will perform better. He argues that as humans, our natural state is to be curious and self-directed, and if we are given room, we will indeed regain that natural state with our work lives. 

On the hand, mastery requires hard work. Pink suggests that motivation to commit to the sustained effort is more likely to come from within than from without. Finally, purpose plays a big role when it comes to raising performance. "Purpose maximization is taking place alongside profit maximization as an aspiration and a guiding principle." reads the book. 

This book clarifies the big mismatch between what science knows and what business does. Yet whenever there is a gap, it means there is an opportunity. The businesses that understand how to motivate their employees of tomorrow will be the ones that lead us forward. I would highly recommend this book to managers and employers who are managing creative types and those who are seeking to improve their company's reward system. 

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