In this eye opening TED Talk, Dan Pink shares his insights and the science behind why traditional motivation rewards aren’t always effective. He says there is a “mismatch between what science knows and what business does” and opens up the conversation around how best to motivate people.
This is the carrot and stick approach that many of us are well accustomed to in our workplaces and schools. You have a task to do, a goal to achieve. You are rewarded if the goal is achieved. If these tasks and goals are very clearly defined and not complex, then rewards around this can be a positive motivator. However, the problem is that in this modern world, narrowly focused, analytical tasks can be defined so well they are increasingly being outsourced or automated by software.
In the workplace of today we expect employees and teachers (and students) to be creative and think outside of the box. Situations and problems are rarely black and white. Dan Pink states that the science is showing that a traditional rewards model doesn’t produce better outcomes in these complex settings.
What studies have found is that a different reward structure produces dramatically better results. Does your workplace use intrinsic methods of motivation:
- Autonomy – the urge for all of us to direct our own lives. Do you provide a setting that allows decision-making to occur at all levels of the organisation? Or is it c control and command structure?
- Mastery – the desire to get better and better at what interests us. Does your PD framework support this need within your people?
- Purpose – the yearning to do what we do in the service of a higher purpose. How much work is done to help your team understand ‘purpose’?
Can you focus more on engagement rather than management? Is there opportunity for more self-direction rather than compliance. This is where Dan Pink says we can find improved outcomes.
The challenge then becomes finding how best to incorporate these concepts into any learning space, be it a boardroom or a school.
Watch the full 19-minute TED Talk to see Dan talk through the puzzle of motivation in his own words.
Want to watch even more TED Talks we have shared. Check them all out here.