Who Hid Workplace Motivation? It Lies Within.



If you live in Richmond, and you attended Dan Pink's lecture at the University of Richmond in early April, this PBS NewsHour piece by economics reporter Paul Solmon does an excellent job of walking you through one of Pink's key points about motivation. If you didn't attend Pink's lecture, the nine-minute video segment is a reasonably good substitute for what was an exceptionally good morning.

In a nutshell, Pink uses several decades of solid research to demonstrate that money is not the great motivator. Money matters. We need it to live, and most employees want to see it distributed in two ways – fairly (no huge pay discrepencies from worker to worker) and reasonably (as in "enough money to live reasonably well"). The companies who understand some of the deeper drivers for solid performance are doing things a little differently, Solmon reports.

In Pink's new book "Drive" he makes a compelling case that the three biggest drivers for performance (at work and in life) are autonomy (give me some freedom of choice), mastery (help me get better) and purpose (remind me that my work matters). I think there are a couple of additional drivers, but I wholeheartedly agree with Pink's premise.