As I work with business leaders, I am always trying (I say trying because my stack of books is very tall!) to stay on top of current business theories and books. A couple of topics that are extremely motivating to me are “Motivation” and “Engagement“. So I was very excited to pick up Daniel Pink’s book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us!!
Based on the evidence he offers in this book, our business model might need an overhaul if we want to continue to grow and thrive as a society. People are dis-engaging at an alarming rate and Pink offers some excellent insight. Here are a few of my take-aways:
Carrot/Stick Motivation only works for simple, linear tasks.
Carrot & Stick motivation is “if you do X, then you’ll get Y”. Our entire economy is built around this concept of “extrinsic motivation”. Think about it, what doesn’t work this way? Well, OK maybe some of those software developers…. Personally, I spent plenty of years selling. and understand this model well. Granted, it is important to have a fair compensation structure in place – without it, any type of motivation will be challenging. But studies show, the typical carrot motivation actually demotivates individuals in more creative, “heuristic” job functions. Why? Well, it gives us short-term thinking syndrome, hyper-focusing on the reward. Matter-of-fact, studies show extrinsic motivators decrease our depth of thinking; diminish performance; reduce creativity; and welcome short-cuts and unethical behavior. Enron? Cheating on Final Exams? Finding clothes, books, and toys stuffed in a closet when your son/daughter is told they can go outside and play once their room is clean?!
A newer, more sophisticated motivation system must be in place to drive performance for more complex, creative jobs. Carrot & Stick motivation might work in the short run but not in the long run (I think this is a factor in why sales people burn out so quickly….).
Type X vs. Type I:
We have all heard of the Type A personality, right? Driven, aggressive, impatient, intense. And of course the counter to Type A was/is Type B. However, the new motivation research requires we redefine the behavioral “types”. Welcome, Type X and Type I. The Type X person, is the one motivated by the “X-trinsic” rewards, less focused on the intrinsic rewards. Intrinsic satisfaction is great but definitely secondary to the primary, extrinsic motivator. The Type I person is more motivated by “intrinsic” rewards than extrinsic – like freedom, challenge, and purpose. The extrinsic rewards are great but not the driving force.
- Something to keep in mind about Type I’s:
- Type I’s are made, not born.
- In the long run, Type I’s almost always outperform Type X’s.
- Type I’s do care about money – for Type I’s fair compensation is a requirement so they can focus on the job at hand.
- Type I behavior leads to better physical & mental health – studies show focus on intrinsic motivation leads to better self-esteem, relationships, and overall well-being. Studies also show Type X focus on money, fame, and beauty, promotes poorer psychological health.
To really motivate people, we need to make sure they have MAP incorporated into their jobs.
- M=Mastery – People need to be challenged, have the ability to grow, and be better…to strive toward Mastery.
- A=Autonomy – People need to have some sense of ownership and accountability over their jobs.
- P=Purpose – People are motivated when the have a sense of passion, or purpose about their job, they understand how it fits into the bigger picture.
So how do we start this shift toward intrinsic motivation? One way is to tap into the Type X boss who is in control. They would need to change their Type X ways and move into the Type I model. A couple of ideas are to involve people in goal setting; use non-controlling language; hold “open office” hours.
Personally, this research helps me understand my own career and how I have evolved. I’m sure I would have been described as a Type A, and then a Type X person back in my previous life…but something didn’t feel right. What was missing was “MAP“. And without my MAP, I lost my direction….but since starting UPwords Inc. and focusing on my own intrinsic satisfaction, I have found my way!