Motivating People to do Great Work

Daniel Pink’s teachings: What really motivates people to do great work? When you reward behavior you get more of it…SOMETIMES!  If a task involves only mechanical skill, bonuses work: Higher pay=better performance. But once the task calls for “even rudimentary cognitive skill”: Higher pay=poorer performance.

Once you pay people enough to keep them motivated, there are 3 enduring motivators:

1) AUTONOMY | Human beings engage when there’s self-direction, management will never get you engagement. If you want to motivate people, give autonomy on 4 areas:

A) Time             B) Technique          C) Team          D) Task

Once a new category is created, the path to commoditization is swift and brutal without continually engaged innovators. At Facebook, the company hires the talent, the talent picks the team. FedEx has certain days that exist to only generate ideas, not to implement them.

2) MASTERY | Have a to-do list… and a TO-DON’T list. Don’t do things that suck energy and kill motivation. The biggest single motivator in a person’s work: Making progress in one’s work (and being able to measure it). is a mechanism for feedback. It sends you an email, you respond on what you did that day. It’s free.

3) PURPOSE | “Increase the metabolism of employee feedback.” More often, more quickly, real-time. People are yearning for a sense of context of WHY they’re doing what they’re doing. Have 2 fewer conversations about “how,” give 2 more conversations about “why.”

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