What will it take to motivate tomorrow’s workforce (maybe even today’s)? Daniel Pink nails it his new book, “Drive” a well-written, thought-provoking look at how we as human beings are motivated and what we want in order to feel fulfilled in life and in our careers.
Extrinsic Motivation vs. Intrinsic Motivation
Dan starts off the book with an in-depth look at how we have used motivation in the past, especially during the industrial revolution through our present in order to build and maintain an efficient workforce. Oh, how things have changed. In the past, things like bonuses, big paychecks, and material wealth were the things we looked for to help us feel like we were achieving something. But today and far into the future, many of us will be looking for some rather interesting ways to achieve self worth – autonomy, mastery and purpose.
Autonomy is the ability to take charge of your own destiny without having a boss breathe down your back. I’ve worked in both situations and I will attest to the importance of autonomy. In many respects, careers that come with a lot of autonomy seem to be linked with the amount of education you have. The interesting thing about autonomy is that once you have tasted what this is like, you’ll never be able to go back to the way things used to be.
Another motivator that many of us are seeking is mastery. We want to be great at what we do. Malcolm Gladwell discussed this same issue in Outliers; however, Pink does the subject much better justice by relating well to today’s career-minded individual. What I loved most about the case that Pink makes is that he understands that mastery is a product of grit (hard work) and time. He doesn’t equate genius to some unknown inner genetic trait. To Pink, mastery is all about digging in and putting in a whole lot of time.
The third quality that we, today and tomorrow’s working professionals, are looking for is purpose. By purpose, Pink is referring to our inner need to belong to something larger than ourselves that is truly making a difference in the world. I know that for myself this is of more importance than I ever thought it would be and I seem to be seeking purpose more and more as I get older and move further in my career.
Pink’s book is a great read. If you own your own business, run a department or are just interested in learning more about how you might find better satisfaction in your career or life, you won’t find a better resource.