Today we have an entertaining, yet educational video that focuses on the topics in Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us, a book by Dan Pink. It’s a neat little video that tells a visual story about motivation-based research.

That’s the easy part.

The hard part is checking out the items below the video and actually doing something with the information you learn. Look forward to seeing who takes the lesson to heart!

Video source link (subscribers click through)

Video Notes

If you can’t watch the video, the key point is that for knowledge-based work (white collar), just offering more money to someone doesn’t necessarily translate to better performance (it can actually cause just the opposite in some testing!). The three keys to motivating people are autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

  • Autonomy-how much control do I have over my job, the tools I use, and how I work?
  • Mastery-am I becoming better at what I do? How do I compare to others? Are my skills and knowledge  growing?
  • Purpose-is this job bigger than the paycheck? Do I have something that I can believe in and stand behind?

The challenge

After reading/watching this information, pick at least one question below and answer it in the comments section. Then share it with a manager in your organization who might find it helpful (we all know someone who is struggling with motivating their staff!).

  • How many of the three keys (autonomy, mastery, purpose) are present in your own job? Is that enough for you?
  • How many of these three items do you actually, honestly offer your employees?
  • How many employees take advantage of any of these three opportunities (if available) within your organization?
  • What management roadblocks may exist that prevent these three motivational tools from being a reality?
  • If you had to pick one that was most important to you today, which would it be? Would your answer be the same in three years? Why or why not?
  • How can you use these concepts to coach managers or employees with regard to professional development?

I’m really excited to hear some thoughts on these questions, and I highly encourage you to share this with a manager within your organization. It might be just what they need to see today!

Of the three keynote speakers at HR Florida, Daniel Pink was definitely my favorite. He shared some phenomenal ideas to motivate employees, and I’m already looking at ways to incorporate those concepts into the workplace.

Quote of the day

Management is an 1850s technology for controlling people at work. -Daniel Pink

Commissioned vs. non-commissioned work

motivation work daniel pinkHe touched on several pieces of interesting research, but the most interesting was a study of commissioned (someone pays the artist to create it) and non-commissioned (it is created by the artist with no compensation in return) artwork. A random selection of both types was assembled, and the objective judges provided some interesting feedback. While both sets fit the requirements for form and function, the non-commissioned works were judged as more creative nearly every time.

The takeaway for business leaders is that we should look for ways to provide non-c0mmissioned work opportunities for our people. An Australian software company called Atlassian offers what they call “Fedex days” to their employees. Basically the staff has the opportunity to work for 24 hours on projects not directly related to their daily duties. The only requirement for employees during these events is that they have to make a presentation to the company describing what they worked on.

They have had incredible success with this program, and the projects and tools that have been developed during these day-long work marathons have helped to spur innovation and creativity throughout the organization. In short, it works.

Autonomy-it matters

It’s been known for quite some time that autonomy really is a powerful tool to get your people invested in their work. When was the last time you asked someone to describe their best boss ever and they replied, “He/she was always looking over my shoulder and was quick to point out when I was wrong. I love my micromanaging boss!”? I’ll go ahead and state the obvious: that has never, ever been said by anyone!

One of the hard parts after hearing a session like this is to figure out how to apply it to your daily work. Daniel Pink did a great job of offering ideas to put into action (including taking the Fedex Day idea above for a test drive). He called this one the autonomy audit.

How to perform the autonomy audit

Ask employees to rate these four questions on a 0-10 scale (0 being low control, 10 being high control):

  1. How much control do you have over your time at work?
  2. How much control do you have over your technique at work?
  3. How much control do you have over your team at work?
  4. How much control do you have over your task at work?

You’ll end up with a score between 0 and 40. Next ask the manager to predict the employee’s score from 0-40. Then (here’s the kicker) share the employee’s score with the manager. Almost always the manager’s prediction will assume the employee has higher control than the employee believes.