You’ve probably already come across Dan Pink’s book Drive, and what it says about motivation. If you haven’t, you can find a great ten-minute video summary here.
Here’s one of the most surprising things about motivation. If you are asking someone to do a very basic, mundane, low skill job, performance related pay works – the more you pay, the better they do. But as soon as a job requires any level of skill, judgement or creativity, paying people more makes them do a worse job. Perhaps this explains why those investment bankers with their huge bonuses wrecked the world’s financial systems a few years ago.
So what does motivate people? Well, everyone’s different, but three key factors are autonomy, mastery and purpose. If believe that what you’re doing is worthwhile (purpose), you have the skills to do it well (mastery) and you’re left to do it in your own way (autonomy) chances are you’ll be highly motivated.
How can you use this insight to motivate the people you work with this week?