“Drive: The Surprising Trust About What Motivates Us” by Daniel Pink
This summer I had an opportunity to read a great book entitled, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink. Pink’s book explores and debunks several myths about what drives human behavior, and he builds a strong case for why we as leaders and managers need to better understand what motivates people and not just rely on economic motivators.
For example one commonly held belief is that if we provide larger extrinsic incentives, then people will perform better. This belief turns out to be true for simple, mechanical tasks. However, it is not true when motivating people around complex tasks that demand more conceptual reasoning. His research indicates that performance and outcomes are largely driven by providing people with autonomy, enabling them to be experts, and creating a sense of purpose. In other words, when thinking about motivating others we as leaders should ask ourselves 1) have we created an environment where people have autonomy; 2) are we enabling people to develop and master their skills; and 3) have we communicated a strong sense of purpose — or why we are doing what we’re doing. Pink’s findings are simple, and powerful.