“Do It Because You Like It” – Dan Pink

By my corporate experience, managers are taught that high productivity is found somewhere near the center of a fear > comfort spectrum. The good stuff lives in the middle and employee commitment is more desirable than compliance. The problem is that our instruction to engage employees is faulty. A one size fits all corporate strategy places individualism on a shelf. It’s naturally risk averse. This will be no more evident in the next year than in marketing case studies – marketing ROI is back with a vengeance – but please excuse my digression.

A fear inducing motivation slaughter was no clearer to me than when we experienced a 20% agency layoff. As painful as it was for everyone, it’s probably most painful for productivity because it died a horrible death only to revive slowly – after much nurturing – a couple weeks later. It turns out that fear of being next to go stopped folks in their tracks. Not surprising.

Conversely, those nearly tenured by position where – beyond a doubt – the lowest performers on average. Furthermore, common sense says that to give those folks a raise in reward would offer higher comfort and still lower performance. Comfort sent a strong message that our default state – doing what we know and following it through to customary success – was not worth a moment’s deviation.

Our default is to be risk reluctant and to think things through to a logical end with no deviation from task. We narrow our purpose and use our craftiness to get to the finish line as fast and as free from criticism as possible – we go with what we know when under pressure. Perform with all eyes on you and you’ll do what it takes not to fail, together with relying on a tested formula for success.

Thus is the world of carrots and sticks. Carrots (comfort) and sticks (fear) produce low motivation.

In his TED video presentation, Dan Pink gives an outstanding presentation – argument if you will – for what science asserts truly motivates us. Dan explains that there is a mismatch between what science shows and what business does. Business wants innovation, yet motivates us to be formulaic with a narrow view of problem solving.

Dan shows us that reward in the free economy dulls creative thinking. The if/then rewards program performs well with narrowed focus problems, yet broad creative thinking suffers as a result of conventional rewards. When we use our mechanical skills, higher rewards yield better performance.  However, even rudimentary cognitive skills suffer with even moderate rewards. The highest rewarded group of cognitive thinkers do worst of all.

Then what is our native motivation you may ask? Dan concludes by presenting three areas of motivation:

Autonomy: The urge to direct our own life.

Mastery: the desire to get better and better at something that matters.

Purpose: the yearning to do what we do in service of something larger than ourselves.

In short:  “Do it because you like it”

Business, Creativity, Crowd Sourcing, expectations, Freedom to fail, Innovation, Inspiration, Motivation, Permission to suck, Process, strategy, Talent

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