Pink, Motivation, Drive & the Non-Idiots Club

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. That’s the title of Daniel Pink’s new book, and it’s awesome for anyone in business (Interested in learning how to motivate employees?). It’s also great for parents. And anyone who works with others in sports or the arts. Okay, for practically anyone. Anyone interested in learning about what motivates us.

I love this book! Why? Well, partly because it’s typical of Pink’s writing – clear, easy-to-read, well-researched, and entertaining. But also because it supports what I’ve been saying, pushing for, and communicating for a number of years. And, because through the research that Pink writes about, he’s proven to me that I’m not quite the idiot that some people think!

I once worked very hard to promote and implement performance-enhancing systems, processes and management approaches that are in alignment with the research in Drive. But I was up against what Pink refers to as Motivation 2.0 thinking – the old carrot and stick model of motivating employees. After a great deal of effort and banging my head against the wall, even I began to believe that I might be an idiot for the way I was thinking.

My thinking had come from four sources:

  • Reading huge volumes of information from a variety of disciplines, ranging from business school texts to coaching books.
  • Hands-on, in-the-trenches experience.
  • Coach training.
  • A lot of thought, reflection and consideration.

When I read something, I’d think about it and then apply it. If it worked, I’d do more of it, and think about why it worked. If it continued to work, I’d do a lot more of it, and think even more. And if it still continued to work, I’d come to the conclusion that this should be used by more than just me – I tried to synthesize and systemize it, teach the techniques, develop a culture that supported it, and promote the approach in a way that anyone could gain from it.

What was it that I was trying to drive into the organization? What Pink calls Motivation 3.0. If Motivation 1.0 is our basic survival needs (hunger, thirst and sex), and Motivation 2.0 is the carrot and stick approach of getting people to do things, Motivation 3.0 is made up of three things:

  1. Autonomy
  2. Mastery
  3. Purpose

I plan to write more about autonomy, mastery and purpose in future blogs. But, if you have any interest in helping others perform better, whether as a manager, a business owner, a leader, a coach, a teacher, or a parent, I highly recommend you read Daniel Pink’s Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.

And, if you’ve ever felt deep down inside that there’s more to motivating others than just dangling a carrot or threatening with a stick, read Drive. You may find out you’re not an idiot after all! You may find that what your gut has been telling you all along is backed up by solid research – research that can help you help others perform even better.

Welcome to the Non-Idiots Club and the future of motivation.

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