Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
by Daniel H. Pink, Riverhead Books, 256 Pages, $26.95, Hardcover, January 2010, ISBN 9781594488849
When companies buckle down and tighten their belts during rough economic times, there is usually a meeting of the higher-ups to discuss how to get more out of employees. In this meeting, perhaps a brilliant incentive program is developed that dictates that if the crew can increase productivity 20%, they will get a 20% bonus. Success is all but guaranteed, right? Now all the company has to do is sit back and watch the numbers rise.
In his new book, Drive,
Dan Pink presents study after study that proves that “if, then” bonus programs fail to increase anything except failure. This “reward-and-punishment” system—Pink calls it Motivation 2.0—is one that may have worked during the factory era but, as all things do, times have changed. Currently, Pink suggests, the laws of behavioral economics have expanded to include intrinsic motivation, or Motivation 3.0. Motivation 3.0 is the reason Wikipedia and Firefox, and all other open source systems, exist and flourish. It is Motivation 3.0 that has driven the creation of products and services that have been produced and maintained by people who work on them because they like
to do the work, not because they are getting bonuses—or even paid—for their labor.
The aforementioned treatise on motivation is the first third of this masterly written book. Part Two deals with the three elements that can actually affect results when trying to implement this new kind of motivation within an organization—or tap into it personally. We, as workers, strive for autonomy—to be self-directed. We also are drawn to mastery—an urge to get better at what we do. And, finally, we desire purpose—to be part of something larger than ourselves.
Though this entire book offers terrific insights for managers and workers alike, Part Three is the real treasure. Pink calls it the “Type I Toolkit” and it truly is the ultimate resource to help you get motivated or improve focus in an organization. Within it, he offers useful advice to parents and educators, and presents a reading list of 15 important books to study and a discussion guide with conversation starters to get the dialogue going.
Pink taps into a crucial aspect of work production in this book, using a fine balance of academic research and enticing storytelling to engage and educate readers. I have been a fan of Dan Pink’s from the beginning, and I think this is his best book yet.
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.