Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Drive - Daniel H Pink

It is an often discussed topic. There were many theories and practices on the subject of motivation. To me, this was yet another book on the cliche'd subject, when I picked this up. However, this turned out to be pretty good book.  What drives people to perform.

In the early days of civilization, it was often the quest for survival. The single aim to be ahead or rather dont be the last one wsa the key driving force. Pink calls this Motivation 1.0. Similar to the new world computers, he says the society too has an operating system that drives the people to do things. From the early days of survival influenced motivation,  the civilization progressed leaps and bounds with the industrialization. The second phase of motivation ( which he calls Motivation 2.0) is based on the reward and punish ( carrot & stick in common language). Higher performances were rewarded and the defaulters and laziness were punished.  This method, deployed successfully over 300 years, are they capable on addressing the needs of the new economy which is beyond the industrialized world. The exponential growth of the information technology related or aided revolution makes leaders to think differently and look at the whole subject of motivation in a different light.

Carrot & Stick method is not as effective as it used to be in the early days. It has its own drawbacks. As it looks at very short term objectives and fails to retain the same level of motivation over long period of time. Money ( any monitory benefits) as many now seems to agree as a Hygiene factor and not a real driving force in a long term. Short term "if-then" type of reward program also makes people to do thinks through short cut, often violating ethical or statutory policies of the organisation.  However, he explains, certain routine based tasks , continue to use the reward program effectively. He advise the use of  'now-that' method instead of 'if-then' in such case. Instead of announcing a milestone, a target based reward, he recommend a use of reward for a good task done. Now that you have achieved this, we are pleased to recognize your contribution.

So, what will drive the new generation. He categorizes this as Intrinsic Motivation and Extrinsic Motivation.  As the name suggests, intrinsic is more personal and are usually associated with virtues. Extrinsic is  mostly to do with physical, tangible and often monitory needs. Since the discussion is towards the next phase ( version 3.0) of motivation, the book concentrate on the Intrinsic ( Type I) motivations in detail.

Type I motivation has 3 key elements : Autonomy , Mastery and Purpose.  Explaining each of these elements in detail, Pink says, autonomy should not be mistaken for freedom or independence to do anything. If managed appropriately, it can unleash the creativity in the team producing results that are beyond your dream. Autonomy is attributed to four areas. Time , task, team and technique. Citing examples from many successful companies, the book provide some interesting case studies to prove his point. Mastery takes to from Compliance ( in 2.0) to engagement. One of the key driving force among the top ranked sports persons ( a la Tiger Woods, Roger Federer) is the quest to master their skill, despite being on top of the world. Mastery he sys, is a mindset, it's pain and it is asymptote ( you never reach the perfection or 100%, but you will be closure to it). 

The book also gives some task based tips to improve the Type I motivation for individual, team ( group or organization) and family. He also provides a chapter-wise summary or recap which I thought a great think to do.  What is the success of this book is in getting a often chewed subject in a different perspective and very effectively. Very good read.

Drive ( 2009 )

Daniel H Pink

Canon Gate

Wall Street JournalWiki

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