Daniel Pink – Three Motivators. #cat10

We have a biological drive, but that’s not all it is to be human.

Or we can be motivated by promise of reward (money).

Or we can do things because they are right, interesting, contributing.

All three are part of what it is to be human.

The third (altruistic) driver is very strong. But we ted to only focus on the second one – reward or punish. And that’s wrong scientifically. The science of motivation calls into question the orthodoxy that reward & punishment mover can be effective, but the third drive is far more powerful.

Dan Arielly. Irrationality – did a study 3 groups, doing various tasks; with different incentives – 1) You get big money. 2) A medium reward 3) Small money.

How much did the big money people perform better? If it was just a simple mechanical task, they did a bit more. “ BUT once the task called for rudimentary cognitive skill, a larger reward led to poorer performance.” If its more complicated/ conceptual – they got locked in – focus on reward STINKS if you’re trying to think creatively.

How many of you in your day to work draw on rudimentary cognitive skill or above? All of us. We have to be artists and creative. We are all artists. What motivates artists?  Another study – Teresa Amibile: 23 artists, painters & sculptors were asked to give away 10 commissioned and 10 non-commssioned.

They were then assessed. “The commissioned works were sigificantly LESS creative…’

How much ‘non-commissioned’ work is there in your organisation?

What DOES work to motivate yourself & others to do that more creative work.

FACT: Money is a motivator. How do we know it’s a fact?

the word fact starts the sentence.

You have to pay people enough. Treat them fairly, or you won’t get the best from them – but once they have ENOUGH, additional monies give none or little extra motive. You have to pay people enough that money’s not the focus.

3 Keys you must give:






Think about the word management. ‘Management is a technology’ (Gary Hamill) to get things done. from the 1850s. How much do we use technology from then today? Management is designed to get COMPLIANCE. But we want ENGAGEMENT, don’t we? People don’t engage by being controlled. We want to get there under our own steam. The best bosses don’t breath down your neck & give you no latitude. Give freedom over their task, time, technology, and technique and they will do BETTER!

Eg Atlasian – an Australian software company. ‘Fed Ex day’ Once a Thursday a month they say, ‘Go and work on whatever you want. Then tomorrow tell us what you did.’ (Deliver). That total autonomy day gives them their best fixes and ideas. It worked so well that they have given over 20% time. You can work on what you want. Experiment, try stuff – on our time (what you do is ours). ROW = Results Only Work environment. You don’t have to come into work at certain times. You do have to do your work. It’s not willy nilly.

So – try a Fed Ex day. The first one is ok. The second – rocks. Give time for non-commisioned work.


Our desire to get better at stuff. That’s satsifying. It’s whay we play music, sports arts. It’s meaningful & you can improve. making PROGRESS at work is the most satisfying thing. We have to give feedback to know about how we’re doing to know whether we’re progressing. ANNUAL performance reviews are not good for that! Imagine a tennis player getting annual coaching. Do it yourself performance reviews are better. At the beginning of the month, set your goals. At the end of the month call yourself into the office. Set your goals, evaluate your progress.


We have seen recently the limits of the profit motive. It’s NOT sufficient.

Exercise on purpose; What’s your summary sentence?

Was I better today than yesterday?

His Twitter Summary: Carrots & sticks are so last century, for C21st we need to upgrade to autonomy, mastery & purpose.