We may have known everything on motivation. But then machines and computers of the 21st century turned some of our know-how upside down. No longer did we need humans for routine tasks, since we could rely on technologies which are stronger, faster, and more reliable. This change left us humans with work machines couldn’t, for example:
Abilities to be complex thinkers, innovative, thinking outside-the-box are necessary with most jobs of the 21st century.
Extrinsic motivators may work well for ’20th century tasks’ – such as manual work and simple solutions. But most modern professionals don’t do manual or simple work, they do much more complicated tasks with no easy answer. A MIT study confirmed – for simple modernistic tasks, a reward continues to improve their performance. If it, however, needs ANY cognitive work the same higher reward actually decreased performance. Other research over 40 years backs up this latter premise that
For creative tasks you can’t motivate people to perform better with money.
Modern psychology is leaning more towards intrinsic motivators to be crucial to business – to explore the need to do more for personal reasons.
Dan Pinks' book "The Drive" reinforces the importance of three core intrinsic motivators that galvanize us to complete our creative works. Our inherent motivators that push us to solve complex challenges are known as the big three: Autonomy, Knowledge, and Purpose.
Autonomy – is the need to direct our own lives. There are four essential facets of autonomy: our task, our time, our technique, and our team. Control and direction are central conditions of being human,
We’re built to be “players not pawns.”
Knowledge – the urge to improve and develop skills. It involves a set of three laws: mind-set, painful, and difficultly. The latter is on a curve that is forever approaching but never reaching its end. Mr. Pink notes that true understanding never occurs, and that
“the joy is in the pursuit more than the realization.”
Our interest withers when we feel like we’re not getting anywhere. That worked adequately for the routine work of the past, where such jobs simply wanted compliance in exchange for money. Now we need engagement in our work, a purpose that’s missing from the old management model. Engagement is the most important route to expertness and personal fulfillment. Highest engagement state warps time, while our goals are clear. So make the challenge achievable, but it also needs to stretch you beyond your current abilities.
Purpose – the need to do what we do for reasons bigger than ourselves. What we’re involved in needs to transcend the self; we need to at least feel like we’re an essential piece of a much larger whole. Purpose comes from helping others. Preferably it outlasts our lives as well.
Mr. Pink's book outlines the crowning example of Microsoft Encarta versus Wikipedia. Microsoft built Encarta with well paid professionals and leaders, motivated with standard money motivators. Unpaid (autonomous) volunteers built Wikipedia for fun, and because they believed in the project. No one in 1999 considered Encarta’s model beatable. Yet Wikipedia easily overcame it with purpose, control and will to win.
When we get past the simple ‘carrots versus sticks’ of 20th century thinking and businesses allow staff control, they will get better with clear goals at work. Businesses will strengthen. Our world will improve.
bEffective helps you develop your team’s and your organization’s innate motivators.