Drive – Daniel H. Pink
The one-sentence summary: We are driven by autonomy, mastery and purpose – the desire to direct our own lives, get better at something that matters, and be part of something bigger.
WHAT THE BOOK SAYS
- Using carrots and sticks to motivate people doesn’t work. We need to concentrate on autonomy, mastery and purpose.
- When it comes to motivation, there’s a gap between what science knows and what business does. Our current business operating system (carrot and stick) doesn’t work and often does harm.
- Autonomy is the desire to direct our own lives.
- Mastery is the urge to get better and better at something that matters.
- Purpose is the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.
- Baseline rewards (salary, contract and a few perks) have to be adequate. Beyond that, motivation comes from autonomy, mastery and purpose.
- Type X behaviour is based on extrinsic desires such as external rewards.
- Type I behaviour is interested in intrinsic rewards – the inherent satisfaction of the activity itself (so long as baseline rewards are adequate).
- ‘If-then’ rewards usually do more harm than good for creative, conceptual tasks (“If you do this, you’ll get that.”).
- ‘Now that’ rewards are offered after a task has been completed (“Now that you’ve done such a great job, let’s acknowledge the achievement”), and come as a surprise. These are more effective.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT
- Low-profit limited liability corporations (L3Cs) are the new breed. They operate like a for-profit business and generate a modest profit, but their primary aim is to offer social benefits.
- FedEx days (so-called because they have to deliver something overnight) allow employees to tackle any problem they want, and are hugely productive.
- People like Goldilocks tasks best – not easy nor too hard. This is where people get ‘in the flow’ and do their best work.
- The Sawyer Effect (inspired by the Mark Twain story in which Tom persuades his friends to pay to whitewash a fence) highlights two crucial effects:
- Offering rewards can turn play into work (negative)
- Focusing on mastery can turn work into play (positive)
- A ROWE is a Results-Only Work Environment, where employees don’t have schedules. They don’t have to be in the office at any particular time. They just have to get their work done.