project: Marah

project management for the things that really matter

What I learned by listening to Daniel Pink

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Daniel Pink , the author of A Whole New Mind, has a new book out called Drive, which reached the national bestseller list in its first month of publication.  If you haven’t heard of him, now is an excellent time to get acquainted.

Dan spoke with William Arruda, Personal Brand Coach and Founder of  Reach Personal Branding about his book, Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us. I decided to take my lunch hour and listen to this very interesting conversation spanning Social Science Research, Real World Workplace Examples and suggestions for increasing personal performance. 

First Dan and William talk about a study conducted by Dan Ariely which evaluates the pay-for-performance or the IF-THEN model.  What’s fascinating is that the pay – for – performance model only works when the tasks at hand are repetitive tasks.  When the study participants are asked to do anything involving cognitive skill, the higher the bonus, the worse the performance.

Which lead to an interesting question – if money isn’t the motivating factor for performance improvements in a creative work society, then what is?   Dan goes on to explain his idea of X and I motivators, eXtrinsic versus Intrinsic.  That when the motivation was Internally motivated, the job satisfaction and job performance went up.  External motivators, like money, only brought the performance to a certain level.  After that it either plateaus or declines.

So, what’s a workplace to do, a place where you go to a job and get paid?  Dan Pink has some suggestions.  1rst he suggests that there’s a distinction between management and leadership.  That management is a vocabulary and a technology/methodology to obtain compliance… which is important in a situation where you need things done in a certain way.  Leadership, however, is the art of engaging others toward a shared goal.  And that engagement is what leads to higher performance.

What’s engagement for an organization?  It’s the magic glue that keeps people together working toward a shared vision.  By providing a sense of purpose, a big picture, people are more likely to understand how what they are doing on a day to day level affects the whole.  Then, through leadership you give people the autonomy and the opportunities for mastery and you have the possibility of increased productivity, engagement, and satisfaction.

Here’s a great example Dan referenced – a Wharton Study where call center agents were given the opportuntity to better understand the significance of their work on the whole.  At the beginning of their shift, they attended lectures about what they were learning (dealing with rejection, public speaking) as well as information about what their work was accomplishing (where the funds they were raising were going) – they “earned more than twice the number of weekly pledges (from an average of 9 to an average of 23) and more than twice the amount of weekly donation money (from an average of $1,288 to an average of $3,130).

That’s pretty amazing.

How are you connected to your world?  Is your job just a paycheck or is it part of something greater?  If you’re stuck at work these days… and under-employment all around us, how are you using Mastery, Purpose and Autonomy to generate greater job satisfaction, performance and engagement to your day to day?

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Written by marahrosenberg

1 October 2010 at 8:50 pm

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