5 for 5 blog – Books for Leaders: Drive

12 Mar

Photo Mar 09, 6 11 47 AM

Work has changed. The needs of workers has changed. But our methods to enable that work and those workers is outdated.

In his book “Drive”, author Daniel Pink, builds the case that leaders need to rethink our methods for developing our teams, increasing engagement, and building culture. By sharing research and relevant examples, this book provides all leaders with the building blocks to inspire and motivate your team.

Here are five big ideas from the book:

Motivation 2.0

If Motivation 1.0 addresses our most essential requirements (food, shelter), then Motivation 2.0 grew from our beginnings to organize and work together. Motivation 2.0 holds as its theme: humans, once we have taken care of our basic needs, are driven to seek reward and avoid punishment. And throughout the 20th century, as the working world revolved around mass production, the idea of “carrots and sticks” to motivate the workforce seemed like an solution. As the book presents, for many routine tasks, in fact, the concept works well. The challenge is that work has evolved the Motivation 2.0 model of extrinsic drivers begins to break down quickly and it especially snuffs out creativity.

“The joy of the task was its own reward”

So if Motivation 2.0 was detrimental to the new world of work, particularly based on knowledge work, what are leaders to do? My favorite part of this book was the background and evidence shared to support the completely counter-intuitive idea that fostering intrinsic motivation (doing a task for the joy and challenge of it), breeds greater creativity, empowers longer term thinking, and promotes physical and metal well being. The book describes the behavior the leads to this environment as Type I behavior (versus Type X for extrinsic motivation) and shares:

“Ultimately Type I behavior depends on three nutrients: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Type I behavior is self-directed. It is devoted to becoming better and better at something that matters. And it connects that quest for excellence to a larger purpose.”

Define results and provide space – Autonomy

The image I have of a Type X manager is one with a clip board, literally standing at the end of a line counting widgets as they fall off the conveyor. To foster truly intrinsic motivation requires leaders to break away from this and give their teams autonomy. As described in the book, intrinsically motivated people want  to control four areas: the task, the time, and the technique, and their team. But with autonomy comes a balance with accountability. Just a constraints breed creativity, accountability with autonomy gives the team freedom to choose how they work with the appropriate expectations to deliver great results. No one works well with someone gawking over their shoulder, so remember:

“We are born to be players, not pawns.”

Enable their growth – Mastery

Put simply, our teams want to know and see they are getting better at contributing. Whether that is negotiating, creating, selling, they want to learn, grow and know that this continues towards the bigger goals. So once we have given the autonomy to work on projects, we need to help align them with work that pushes them to the edge of their capabilities. Not overly difficult, but not easy but with the opportunity to quickly get feedback on progress. If we can do this, the books shows, we can help our teams achieve flow, states of optimal performance, where people are not only autonomous, but fully engaged . As defined by the research of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi:

“In flow, people lived so deeply in the moment, and felt so utterly in control, that their sense of time, place, and even sense melted away.”

Give people something big than themselves to serve – Purpose

We talk a lot about working with purpose, in service of a goal beyond ourselves and our own gratification. In my own opinion, this is what will truly separate Type I leaders – connecting their teams with their WHY. When people can connect with the “something bigger themselves” combined with being given the freedom on how to work and the ability to get better, they will push father then they thought possible.

“A healthy society – and healthy business organizations – begin with purpose and consider profit a way to move toward that end or a happy byproduct of its attainment.”

With so much being published about employee engagement and workplace happiness these days, it is interesting how often so many of the points being made are captured (or even cite) this book. I highly recommend this book to any leader who has an urge to make a difference for their team, but have been looking to connect the dots form that desire to how to enable that for your team. The third part of the book is a toolkit for helping leaders of all organizations to do this by compiling and synthesizing the ideas in a practical way. This will go on my own “re-read list” because Motivation 3.0 is a journey rather than a destination…about constantly engaging  our teams to provide those Type I nutrients: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

Here are this week’s 5 for 5 articles:

Give 40, Take 0 – by Jason Fried

Why we shouldn’t underestimate the power of diversity – by Jeff Howe and Joi Ito

Why Your Leadership Skills Won’t Get You Hired (But These Four Other Things Might) – by Jeff Kavanaugh

Get your flow on – by Quiet Revolution

Obedience and inquiry – by Seth Godin