I like Dan Pink. First of all, he’s got a cool, slightly gutsy last name. Second, he writes about fun stuff. He wrote A Whole New Mind about the right-brain revolution and, more recently, Drive about what truly motivates us (affiliate links). As a presentation coach and confessed whiteboardaholic, I love the following video which covers the major concepts of his latest book. I think you’ll find both the content and delivery fascinating.
I’ll warn you that Drive‘s subtitle, “the surprising truth about what motivates us,” is slightly misleading. Dan relays the discovery that people aren’t motivated most by money or rewards, but by autonomy, mastery, and purpose. This wasn’t too surprising to me. I’ve first-hand experience that it’s true.
I learned it from my three-year-old son, Luke.
Luke is an amazing kid who keeps changing and growing–and forcing me to adapt my leadership style and technique on a daily basis. I’ve learned so much about leading (and following) from being his father. First, Luke has no concept of what money is. Second, he understands rewards, but loses interest quickly (like father like son).
However, you should see how fast he moves when he’s given even the slightest sense of autonomy. Let him help get the milk out and pour it himself–he’s in heaven. And you can’t compare the smile on his face when he does something and does it well. It doesn’t matter if he’s spelling B-O-X “Box!” drawing a square, or putting his pee pee in the potty. This kids loves to master new things.
Finally, it’s refreshing to see someone who knows their purpose and is living that purpose out to the best of their ability. That’s Luke. He knows he is three years old and he knows his purpose is to have fun, explore the world, figure stuff out, play with others, and enjoy life.
Now if I could just get him to go to bed on time…
How do you use autonomy, mastery, and purpose to motivate others?