Drive by Dan Pink
Dan Pink challenges some basic assumptions about what motivates us; specifically the notion of ‘contingent’ rewards and shows that this approach has the opposite of the intended effects (better, faster problem-solving/performance).
Previously best known for his earlier work, ‘A whole new mind’, expands Pink's thinking to focus on what motivates success. He draws widely on post-war research, from a variety of disciplines and draws the threads coherently together.
Pink also makes clear the distinctions between internal motivators/drivers (‘intrinsic’) and external drivers (‘extrinsic’).
My favourite quote from the book is from economist Bruno Frey: “Intrinsic motivation is of great importance for all economic activities. It is inconceivable that people are motivated solely, or even mainly, by external incentives.” I believe people would agree with this statement on a personal level. It’s when we apply this, notably in organisational contexts, that our prior conditioning is revealed and the traditional ‘carrot and stick’ methods (called ‘motivation 2.0’ by Pink) are applied.
Pink argues that, once the ‘hygiene factors’ of fair pair and reasonable working conditions are met, money per se, doesn’t motivate us. Those things which bring us pleasure and fulfilment, individual intrinsic factors, motivate us far more. Pink also distinguishes between the routine problem/solution work that many people do (which he calls ‘algorithmic’) and the more complex ‘heuristic problems that don’t have simple solutions, where intrinsic rewards are most important.
Pink writes well and explains the more complex distinctions clearly. Like every page-turning good read, I don’t want to give away the ending; suffice to say that he offers options for making even routine work more fulfilling, offers suggestions for every organisation to become more productive, and at a lower cost by using a new approach to motivation; which he calls “motivation 3.0”.
Drive is about motivational methods for the 21st century, founded on the research of the 20th. I genuinely hope that this book has the impact it deserves and new ways of motivating people are applied.