Rethinking Motivation - 3 lessons from Dan Pink

Is our typical thinking towards motivation outdated? Can we move on from Hertzberg?

In this video by Dan Pink to the RSA, we discover some things that might or might not surprise us about motivation.

thinkinghr motivation


Money as a motivator?
Money of course comes up and is the basis for the study, does it really work as a motivator?
When you take it off the table as an issue (similar to Hertzberg) but in fact causes poorer performance in many instances. My experience tells me, achievement is the reward and that can come in many, pat on the back, publicly recognised or validated.

Being left to get on with it
Dan calls it AUTONOMY. This means we empower people to get on and make their own decisions (within a framework) and also minimise the barriers (meetings etc) to getting things done and let people have freedom to explore and be creative without consequence. Can people really be trusted? Well in many situations that is exactly what is required and problems multiply when they can't solve problems themselves...they are waiting to told they can act or advice on what to do next, not trained how to do it.

Getting better/good at what you do
Is this for everyone? No-one we hope comes to work to do a bad job. So MASTERY could the answer to a question that has plagued me for years, why do we always try to build up weaknesses and hardly ever strengths?

Doing something good
Dan calls it PURPOSE. It's about doing altruistically good and has a clear purpose in a good way. It benefits people and society, doesn't damage or do bad things. When it's solely about the money or the profit then people start to behave badly. We've already seen this, but people feel more connected and engaged when they know what their organisation does, is in effect good.

Whilst we may challenge on the validity for everyone on the planet, it certainly has some interesting lessons for us that we could implement in our organisations, both in terms of focus and communication.