The new depths of motivation

“When it comes to motivation, there’s a gap between what science knows and what business does.

Our current business operating system – which is built around external, carrot-and-stick motivators – doesn’t work and often does harm. We need an upgrade. And the science shows the way. This new approach has three essential elements:

  1. AUTONOMY – the desire to direct our own lives
  2. MASTERY the urge to get better and better at something that matters
  3. PURPOSE –  the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves”

That’s a summary from a great book I’ve just read about motivation called Drive by Daniel H. Pink. http://www.danpink.com/drive and it really struck a chord with me. The book talks about how, once we have a job or project that pays us a fair salary, in today’s world most of us are no longer completely motivated by extrinsic desires such as a huge pay rise or big house etc, but are led by INTRINSIC desires such as the need to be in control of our own lives and find activities that produce “flow”. It is such activities which the current economy demands, an economy which needs people to be creative.

A new behaviour has been identified by Behavioural Scientists which is less concerned with the external rewards that an activity brings and more with the inherent satisfaction of the activity itself.  Apparently our “default” setting is to be autonomous and self directed. We need autonomy over what we do, when we do it, who we do it with and how we do it. The book relates many examples of companies who are adopting this new approach in the work place and are seeing how their bottom line is really benefitting.

This approach is defined as the “third drive”.  The first motivation drive (Motivation 1.0) was about survival (when we simply had to get our needs of hunger, thirst and sex satisfied: the second drive (Motivation 2.0) was about responding to external rewards and punishments and now we have the very important third drive – Motivation 3.0.

Perhaps the most important element that is part of Motivation 3.0 is PURPOSE. As humans this is what we seek, something that is greater and more enduring than ourselves, and in fact, more and more young people are understanding and identifying with this. As forward thinking companies consider purpose maximisation alongside profit maximisation, businesses and the economy will be rejuvenated and propelled to greater, more sustainable heights.

Tara, thanks for lending me the book!

 

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