Something I've recently re-read was 'Drive' by Daniel Pink. It's all about 'The surprising truth about what motivates us'. Here's some things I took away from this great read...
- Motivation has different levels, each increasing in effectiveness. Motivation 1.0 is all about the biological need to survive. Motivation 2.0 is all about external punishments & rewards that are used to keep people driven. Motivation 3.0 is about having internal autonomy over our work, the pleasure in mastering it & having a grand purpose behind it's achievement.
- When it comes to boring, routine tasks (called Type X behaviour), then extrinsic Motivation 2.0 is effective. However if the behaviour requires any level of thought (called Type I behaviour), then by using a carrot & stick approach, it's been proven to lead to short-term thinking, cheating, shortcuts & overall worse performance.
- So when it comes to Type I behaviour (which is now the majority of 21st century work), then you need to focus on intrinsic rewards, rather then extrinsic motivators. These intrinsic rewards include autonomy (the freedom to work your own way), mastery (becoming great at the task) & purpose (serving something larger than ourselves).
- When giving rewards be careful. If the work is Type X then 'if-then' rewards tend to work (eg: for each supermarket shelf you stack, then you'll get an extra £5). Although if the work is Type I, then 'now that' rewards work much better (eg: giving someone a surprise treat after they've done a great job, without them expecting it). It's also worth noting that positive feedback has been proven to be much more effective than money / gift incentives.
- The intrinsic purpose element of your Motivation 3.0 should be able to be summarised in a sentence. For example "Einstein's scientific theories revolutionised the world" or "Edison's incredible inventions made history". Once your life mission is set in place, then keep yourself on the right track with the following question to yourself at the end of each day - "Was I better today than yesterday?" (meaning 'did I make more sales calls?', 'did I lift heavier weights?', 'did I watch less pointless TV?', etc). If the answer is 'yes' then congrats, however if it's 'no' then maybe it's time to change.
If you enjoyed this article, then please let me know your thoughts on Twitter @AlfieGWhattam, where I'm always happy to discuss.