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Posts Tagged ‘Motivation’

Drive Review

This book is about motivation . . .

Human beings have an “inherent tenancy to seek out novelty and challenges, to extend and exercise their capacities, to explore, and to learn.” But this third drive was more fragile than the other two; it needed the right environment to survive.

Too many organizations still operate from assumptions about human potential and individual performance that are outdated, unexamined, and rooted more in folklore than in science. They continue to pursue practices such as short-term incentive plans and pay-for-performance schemes in the face of mounting evidence that such measure usually don’t work and often do harm.

Worse, these practices have infiltrated our schools, where we ply our future workforce with iPods, cash, and pizza coupons to “incentivize” them to learn. Something has gone wrong. There’s been a mismatch between what science knows and what business does. The goal of this book is to repair that breach.

There’s a reason why it took so long for this book to get to me through the library. This engaging and informative book by Dan Pink describes how motivation has change throughout human history. In very early days we had what he calls Motivation 1.0, which came from our survival instincts. Hunt for food, run from those hunting us. This eventually and gradually changed to Motivation 2.0, which is basically the idea of the carrot and stick. We were driven by rewards when we did good things (carrots) and punished for bad things (stick).

However, in the last few years the way we do things have changed, making Motivation 2.0, well, not so motivating. He gives a few examples of some of the trends that have come to being, such as open source (e.g. Wikipedia), for benefit businesses (as opposed to for profit, or not for profit), and jobs that require creativity and no longer requiring repetitious tasks. As these became popular Motivation 2.0 became unproductive, and in some cases, counter productive.

Thus idea Motivation 3.0 came. There are three important elements that Pink describes.

1. Autonomy: to have freedom over what you’re doing. Pink outlines a multitude of examples where people have become much more productive when they have their own control over: what they’re doing (task), how they’re doing it (technique), who they’re doing it with (team), and when they’re doing it (time).

2. Mastery: the desire to get better at something. It’s true that once you have the desire to do something well – and I’m talking about a task, like playing a sport, or writing, or talking to people – you can achieve your goals. There are three components to Mastery. First, is to have the right Mindset, and to know that you don’t need to be a particular type of person to achieve these goals. The second is to endure the Pain, and have perseverance and passion for the long term goal. The third is to remember that it is Asymptote. The asymptote, if you can remember from your high school math classes, is that line on the graph that nearly reaches the axis, but never does. Same goes for reaching Mastery: you almost get there, but you never will. While sounding negative, it’s actually quite a positive thing because it will always give you something to strive towards (and ensures that you never get bored).

3. Purpose: And here’s the key to Mastery, it’s to get better at something that MATTERS. Those who are the most motivated are ones that are working for something that is larger than themselves, leading to a feeling productivity and satisfaction.

I like this book because it relates strongly to Public Health. It challenges the way we do things at work, in education and even the way we exercise. If we are able to get over the mindset of performance equals pay, perhaps we can come up with better solutions to world problems. Further than that, finding the right kind of motivation will lead to a more effective way to learn, so that children can see what is relevant to the world around them.

If you’d like to hear it right from Pink himself, watch his TEDTalk.

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Drive: Two Questions

Right now I’m reading Drive, by Dan Pink. It’s an interesting book so far. I’ll talk more about it when I’m finished, but for now I wanted to post this video from the Type I / Type X survey. (It told me that I’m a Type X, but I don’t agree, by the way).
Anyway, it’s an interesting video, and it poses two very thought provoking questions.