Hong Kong:   It’s been nearly a month since I exited corporate America, and, rather shamefully, I have read just one book.  While I was tempted to pick up something escapist and fun and shallow, I opted to read the provocative book by Dan Pink — “Drive” — about motivation, and how most companies have compensation systems all wrong.   

My interest in this topic, at this particular moment, is not on the business angle of motivation, but on the human level.  I’m interested in what really causes people to get up in the morning and go beyond the call of duty.  Pink says beyond a certain economic baseline, like making enough money to pay the rent and put food on the table, many people are motivated by intrinsic factors — autonomy, mastery, and purpose, or doing what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.  We are purpose maximizers and not just profit maximizers.  And there’s a paradox because research shows many compensation systems are actually de-motivating

For anyone in management this is a fascinating read, and certainly not what they taught me at Columbia Business School (and I dare say any business school).  It’s a new way of thinking about motivation, and has application in a variety of non-business situations, such as with children.   I’ve already been experimenting at home with some of the ideas.   (“Uh oh,” my son says…)   

“Drive” has also shaped some of my thinking what I want out of my career when I decide to grow up.  

This You Tube video is much more interesting than my writing about motivation.   Take a look:-

Dan Pink on motivation


About Todd

Around-the-world cycling, one continent at a time
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