Mike Kueber's Blog

February 24, 2013

Sunday Book Review #98 – Drive by Daniel Pink and Renegades Write the Rules by Amy Jo Martin

Filed under: Book reviews — Mike Kueber @ 11:29 pm
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Drive is a fascinating book by psychologist Daniel Pink that prescribes a new operating system for motivating mankind, especially employees, going into the 21st century.  This new operating system, which Pink calls Motivation 3.0, is needed to replace the first two operating systems:

  • Motivation 1.0 is essentially a biological drive to survive, and it is always the first priority.
  • Motivation 2.0 is based on seeking rewards and avoid punishment – i.e., the carrot and the stick. 

Harnessing Motivation 2.0 was critical to the economic progress experienced since the Industrial Revolution.  The world economy, however, has changed.  Behavioral scientists describe work as either algorithmic, where a worker follows established instructions down a single path to one conclusion, or heuristic, where a worker has to be creative and experiment with possibilities to develop a novel solution.  Work in America is becoming more heuristic, with much of our algorithmic work being off-shored.  Only about 30% of America’s job growth will be in algorithmic work, with 70% of it being heuristic. 

Motivation 2.0 isn’t effective with workers doing heuristic work because it treats them as nothing much more than an animal or a machine – i.e., it isn’t “ennobling.”  Pink describes seven reasons why, according to psychological studies, the carrot & stick approach often fails:

  • It gives us less of what we want with – extinguishes intrinsic motivation, diminishes high performance, crushes creativity, and crowds out good behavior.
  • It gives us more of what we don’t want – encourages unethical behavior, becomes addicting, and fosters short-term thinking.

Enter Motivation 3.0, whose objective goes beyond compliance to engagement.  Pink begins his discussion of Motivation 3.0 by describing the self-determination theory (STD), which posits that all humans have an innate psychological need for competence, autonomy, and relatedness.  When these needs are satisfied, we are motivated, productive, and happy.  Otherwise, we are not.

Individuals or businesses that operate under a carrot & stick approach are called Type X (extrinsic) because they are fueled by external rewards, whereas individuals or businesses that are fueled by inherent satisfaction are called Type I (intrinsic).  Pink has found that Type 1 behavior (Motivation 3.0) is made, not born, and almost always outperforms Type X.  Further, it is renewable and promotes greater physical and mental well-being. 

The three critical elements to Type 1 behavior are:

  1. Autonomy – an off-shoot of autonomy is a results-only work environment (ROWE). 
  2. Mastery – an important part of mastery is what Pink calls “flow.”  This occurs when a person is challenged with something not too easy, yet not too hard.  Sounds like an athlete in a “zone.”
  3. Purpose – attaching your efforts to a cause larger than yourself.  This element conflicts with Ayn Rand’s disdain of altruism. 

Pink warns that individuals who have become accustomed to Motivation 2.0 need to be gradually transitioned to Motivation 3.0.  I have spent a lifetime under the carrot & stick approach, and have seen many employees who don’t appear deserving of autonomy.  But they probably appear that way because of ineffective 2.0 management.  I think the author is correct in suggesting that the vast majority of people who are properly managed will perform much better under Motivation 3.0:

  • “Too many organizations – not just companies, but governments and nonprofits as well – still operate from assumptions about human potential and individual performance that are outdated, unexamined, and rooted more in folklore than in science….  For too long, there’s been a mismatch between what science knows and what business does.  The goal of this book is to repair that breach.”

Mission accomplished.

Renegades Write the Rules by Amy Jo Martin provides a ground-level perspective of a person who has been a leader in the commercialization of social media – specifically Twitter.  She has helped a lot of entertainers and athletes, like Shaq, Steve Nash, and The Rock, develop their social-media presence.  Personally, I don’t do twitter, so I was like a first-grader sitting in a 6th-grade communications class.  But now I have a slightly better understanding about the subject, and my curiosity has been sufficiently piqued for future study.

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2 Comments »

  1. […] Daniel Pink in his book Drive discusses why American business needs to move away from the carrot-and-stick approach to motivation […]

    Pingback by Sunday Book Review #131 – Social by Matthew Lieberman | Mike Kueber's Blog — April 8, 2014 @ 2:33 am | Reply

  2. […] a little over a year ago, I reviewed a book on business motivation called Drive by Daniel Pink.  In Drive, Pink argues that too many […]

    Pingback by Modern management | Mike Kueber's Blog — May 18, 2014 @ 12:21 pm | Reply


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