Posts Tagged ‘drive’

Pink, Motivation, Drive & the Non-Idiots Club

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

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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Focus: A Golf Lesson

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Sun beating down on my skin, a gentle breeze drying the sweat as quickly as it forms. Perfect weather for a day of golf. Standing on the 12th tee, a green cushion underfoot, and nothing but blue above. Through the first eleven holes I’ve shot the best round of my life. As I swing my driver to flex, stretch and prepare, my shoulders are loose. I’m calm. Confident. Ahhh, what a perfect day.

Setting the dimpled, white Titleist 3 on the tee, I step back and look up the fairway, taking in the beauty of the course. Pine and birch trees flanking fresh-cut grass, the tang of which as strong as bacon cooked over a campfire. Sunlight flickering off the birch leaves. Ahhh, what a day. Three ducks leave a wake in the subtlest of waves from the breeze on the water trap 75 yards ahead, between me and the green.

WHAT?! Holy crap! What is that, Lake Erie? Look at the size of that thing! Directly in front of me. Oh, come on – I don’t need that today. I’m playing the best round of my life. I don’t need this right now! Come on!

Okay, okay, just relax. Relax and focus. A couple of practice swings to make sure I don’t hit the ball into the water trap. Oops, did I tighten up my follow-through there? Better make sure I don’t do that when I hit the ball for real. Follow through. What’s that with my grip? Yeah, turn my grip just a little. I gotta hit this ball straight. And hard. Gotta get it over the water trap.

Yeah, that’s it. Drive the ball over the water. The water right there – get it over that. That’s all I need to do, and then I can go on with my best round ever. Damn, I hope I don’t hit my Titleist 3 in there. This is my favorite ball, the ball that’s helped me shoot the best round of my life so far.

I know, just in case I’ll use another ball. Swap my Titleist 3 on the tee with an old one – one of the Water Balls I keep in my bag just for these situations. Okay, there we go – that’s better. If I drive that old ball into the water, it doesn’t matter – I’ve still got my Titleist 3.

Okay, here we go. Time to drive this sucker over the water. Eye on the ball. Here we go… over that water trap. Hit it hard…

Damn! Oh man, that sucks – right in the water. Right in the middle, even. There goes my best round ever! Good thing I had my back up plan to use the old ball. But… Why did I have to mess up my great round?

Focus. It’s a funny thing, isn’t it? If we focus on something, we typically get it. Focus on a water trap and we drive the ball into it. Use a Water Ball and our brain knows what it’s supposed to do with it – hit it into the water. Or, focus on someone walking towards us on a sidewalk and (especially if the other person is focusing on us) we walk into each other. Focus on a problem and we get the problem. Focus on the back up plan and we need it.

Focus on where we want the ball to go and we hit over the water trap. Focus on the solution and we find it. Focus on making the plan work and we don’t need a back up plan.

Performance is all about focus. We can’t perform well if we’re focused in the wrong place. Whether on the golf course, in business, or wherever, focus on what you want.

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