Framing the Dialogue


I once had an unhappy guy working for me.  He felt like he was not paid enough for the responsibilities that he had and I agreed, however, I didn’t have any control over compensation.  He was a great employee and I worked to get him more money, but I knew that when I was finally successful his satisfaction would not last so I looked at ways to make our work more “fun.”  We still did our work, but I was able to introduce more autonomy to his schedule and involve him in some out-of-the-box tasks.  I’ve been gone from that company over twelve years, but I recently ran into Hank and he is still there and is close to retirement.

Drive provided the research explaining “the surprising truth about what motivates us.”  Hint – money isn’t the biggest motivator.  Daniel H. Pink is yet in a long line of authors who has illustrated what a poor work environment I have.  Pink provides a great deal of research in a very readable way that neither detracts from the details nor provides so much detail making the text boring as some of the same genre.  The research to what motivates us surprisingly isn’t all that new and many companies over the years have successfully use non-traditional ways to motivate workers.  In fact research presented proves that standard rewards make things worse,

“Deci began discovering forty years ago, adding certain kinds of extrinsic rewards on top of inherently interesting tasks can often dampen motivation and diminish performance.  Once again, certain bedrock notions suddenly seem less sturdy.”

and some good advice for companies and individual managers…

“Goals may cause systematic problems for organizations due to narrowed focus, unethical behavior, increased risk taking, decreased cooperation, and decreased intrinsic motivation.  Use care when applying goals in your organization.”

The hit television series, The Office, had an episode where the manager outline specific sales goals.  The salespeople exhibited the above traits and once their goals were reached they just stopped since there was no longer a reason to continue. 

I would advise caution to any one before reading this if you have a job with an organization using traditional motivators like fear, micromanagement, or rewards.  This book will not make you like your job any better.

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