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Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us

I stumbled across this article a few weeks back, and I can’t stop thinking about it. Watch all 10 minutes; this video is worth it. But if you really can’t spare the time, I’ve summarized the points below (transcripted it). The book is next on my reading list.


Autonomy – the desire to be self-directed

  • – traditional notions of management run afoul of this
  • – management is great if you want compliance
  • – but if you want engagement, self-directed is better

Mastery – the urge to get better at stuff

  • – this is why people play musical instruments on weekends
  • – not gonna get you a mate, not going to make you any money
  • – you get better at it and that’s satisfying
  • – open source: linux, apache, wikipedia. why are they doing this?
  • – challenge and mastery, along with making a contribution, that’s it.

Purpose – have a transcendent purpose

  • – makes coming to work better
  • – that’s the way to get better talent (“that looks like a great place to work”)
  • – when profit motive becomes unmoored from purpose motive, bad things happen

Build organizations and work lives that that make us better off but also have the promise to make the world a little bit better.

Posted in Commentary.

2 Responses

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  1. Jill says

    I think that the influence of money as motivator goes back to the fact individuals will achieve more if they have internal locus for motivation. If you look to Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, when the basic needs are met we are able to move forward toward self-actualization, or happiness/ pursuit of the highest capability of living. Money, in theory will only attempt to fix the base of the pyramid or the two bottom levels (Physiological needs and Safety), whereas creativity, problem solving and higher level functioning comes from self-actualization which is the top of the pyramid. Once a person’s needs are satisfied, keeping in mind that the definition of satisfaction is not finite is going to vary by person; they need other sources of motivation. Money, although a great incentive where is will allow people to meet there basic and even some of there higher functioning needs, is throwing money at a problem the individual has already “fixed”.

  2. Ying Wang says

    wow! I lOoOve this video! Even though it derives most of its ideas form the Hackman/Oldham model of motivation, the way that the video describes the motivational approaches is very innovative and focus more on the self actualization aspects of job motivation. Thanks for posting it =)

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