In this talk featured at the TED Convention, career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don’t. Traditional rewards and incentives do not work and often do harm.
Dan has studied the science of human motivation, specifically the dynamics of external and internal motivators.
There is a mismatch to what science has proven and what business does. Rewards can narrow the focus of peoples thinking and restricts their creative possibilities.
In todays global market place, left brain activities, such as accounting, computer programming can be easily outsourced and automated. Therefore, there is a premium for workers that think with their right brains out of the box conceptual abilities.
At a study conducted at MIT found that when tasks where mechanical, bonuses worked as expected; the higher the pay, the better the performance. However, when the task called for even rudimentary cognitive skill, a larger reward lead to a poorer performance.
Science also gives a solution for how to motivate people and it is rooted in intrinsic motivation and revolves around 3 key building blocks:
* Autonomy The urge to direct our own lives
* Mastery The desire to get better and better at something that matters
* Purpose To be of service to something larger than ourselves
Management concepts work wonderful if you want compliance. But if you want engagement, self-direction is the way to manage people.
Examples of companies that have used these concepts are discussed, including google and the wikipedia model.