Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

It’s a pretty common assumption in organizational life that employees are motivated by money. It’s the principle of the carrot and the stick. That’s why quarterly and year-end bonuses are common practice. Maybe you’ve received a bonus, or maybe you’re the boss handing out these cash prizes. But are you doing more harm than good?

In his book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink observes that bonuses work well for simple, straight-forward tasks (do this and you’ll get this $$). However, Pink shares some eye-opening research that suggests that when a task is more complicated and requires a higher level of conceptual, creative thinking, monetary bonuses can actually drive creativity and productivity in the wrong direction.

Daniel Pink shares a couple of studies that uncover what truly “drives” people–what motivates us. He shares three factors that drive better performance and greater personal satisfaction among employees:

1.  Autonomy: The desire to be self-directed
2.  Mastery: The urge to get better at stuff
3.  Purpose: A transcendent purpose…making a contribution

The following video powerfully and creatively captures Pink’s message about what motivates us. It’s worth every minute.