How Do You Motivate Your Team?

In Daniel Pink’s newest book, DRiVE, he shares with us the truths about what really motivates us.  Check this out — what a refreshing change to the typical bottom line results driven by the usual rational thought.  Recycling the past over and over corporations are now realizing that there is a new way to ‘look’ at the workplace. 

Pink outlines three elements key to driving motivation whether at work, home, or in the community.  People need to be inspired and that takes more than the typical ‘carrots and sticks’ of the past. 

Element #1:  Autonomy

Are people pawns or players?  That is the question that Pink ponders.  Drawing on the work of Deci and Ryan, “Autonomous motivation involves behaving with a full sense of volition and choice whereas controlled motivation involves behaving with the experience of pressure and demand toward specific outcomes that comes from forces perceived to be external to the self.”  Researchers at Cornell University  found that businesses that offered autonomy grew at four times the rate of the control-oriented firms and had one-third the turnover. 

These results are not to be dismissed.  How does your company demonstrate Autonomy?  Does your firm promote autonomous motivation or controlled motivation?

Element #2:  Mastery

Mastery is about moving forward and doing what needs to be done to be continually improve performance.  Of course why would one at work want to ‘master’ something if they are not in an environment that promotes ‘autonomy’?  What’s the motivation to ‘better’ oneself if in a controlled environment?  Pink states that, “Control leads to compliance; autonomy leads to engagement.”  How disturbing the results are in a Gallup poll showing that more than 50 percent of the employees in the U.S. are not engaged at work — and nearly 20 percent are actively disengaged. 

This is where Pink gets into the work of Csikjszentmihalyi – another resource promoting the ‘optimal experience’ in his best-selling book, Flow.  Csikszentmihalyi states that the most satisfying experiences in people’s lives are when they are in flow.  They are deeply experiencing the moment in a way that allows the melting away of time and place.  Autonomy and engagement are critical to flow and ultimately the ability to commit to Mastery.

Element #3:  Purpose

Look around – listen to what others are saying?  What is our purpose — what is really important in life?  What drives people is a purpose beyond themselves.  Pink states that those that are most motivated are those that have a desire larger than themselves.  And of course these same people show a tremendous ability to  be both producti ve and satisfied.  What is your purpose?

Closing Thoughts…

So what are you doing to promote these Pink’s three elements:  Autonomy; Mastery; and Purpose to the most important resources of your company?  Take a poll and ask your employees.  What motivates them to be engaged, satisfied, and excited about life?