The world of work is changing, according to the New York Times bestselling author Dan Pink. Pink, described as one of the top 15 business thinkers in the world believes the way in which we tap into motivation in the business world has gone horribly awry.
In his famous TedTalk, Pink notes that the traditional model of ‘sticks and carrots’ is flawed. Pink leans on research done by Behavioural Economist Dan Ariely suggesting that the existence of financial rewards has a diminishing effect on performance. According to Ariely, defined task roles may benefit from financial rewards. In the case of defined task roles, the individual only really has influence over the speed at which tasks are done. In this case financial incentives have been shown to improve productivity.
However, where undefined task roles (management or specialist roles which require judgement) are in question, Ariely found that the existence of financial incentives diminished performance. In some cases productivity did improve but this was at the expense of accuracy. Reasons cited for the decline in performance include: stress created by incentives, and gaming among individuals in response to incentives.
Pink’s publications challenge conventional wisdom on incentives, particularly financial incentives which have become embedded in financial services over the past couple of decades. Pink suggests that the source of sustainable motivation and performance lies in:
Autonomy: Being able to determine and direct the type of work you do; Mastery: Being able to develop and achieve proficiency in your work; and Purpose: Being part of work that has meaning and gives one a sense of purpose.
Developing a flexible organisation, which is responsive to the evolving needs of the individual is a tough challenge, but one we are committed to. Check out the link to Pink’s talk (www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation.html), and let us know what gets you charged up in the morning…
A) The ability to choose the kind of work you want to do; B) The ability to become the ‘Guru’ in your field; C) The opportunity to build something BIG; or D) Just show me the money!