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We Take On Dan Pink!


The name Dan Pink has probably never been tweeted as much as it has over the past few weeks.  I must admit – when I saw the first few tweets and blog post about his presentation at the TED Conference I thought it was interesting.  But the tsunami of "Dan Pink is the greatest thing in the world" got to me after a while. 

I started a post on his video but found my fingers couldn't keep up with what I was trying to say.

So, I'm 'sperimentin' today.

Below is a video of a presentation I put together to explain our point of view – Dan Pink-wise.

The net is – he's not 100% right and he's not 100% wrong.

It runs about 10 minutes (sorry, I tried to cut.)  Let me know in the comments if this an effective way to get our point across (assuming I'll get more efficient.)

(Email subscribers may need to click through to see the video.)

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Originally posted on on Incentive Intelligence

13 Responses to “We Take On Dan Pink!”

  1. Bret Simmons says:

    LOVE IT!!! Give em heck!

  2. Dan Pink’s presentation was not that external incentives and rewards harm all tasks done by all employees. It was about external incentives harming only creative tasks.

  3. Paul Hebert says:

    Ankesh – you’re correct – he started that way. But he finished with an indictment on all external incentives. But, as I commented on in the presentation, what he really means is they may not be effective in specific, creative, problem-solving tasks. Unfortunately, most of the blogsphere and the twittervers only heard the first part of the discussion.
    My point in the presentation was that not one influence technique is appropriate. I’m pretty sure I was very clear on that.

  4. Totally agree with you. In my 30 years of being a corporate psychologist, one (well, there are lots more things) thing stands out – what works for one person, may not work for another.
    As one of my mentors, Ken Blanchard says, “Different strokes for different folks in different situations.”
    And to respect the paradox of simplicity – in a complicated sytem like the human side of business, keeping it simple is key but not so simple that i act like a simpleton.
    Thank you so much for this.

  5. Hi everyone,
    I love this. getting into fierce, respectful conversations about our preferences, values, etc. while hopefully staying away from positions.
    Lets not get infected with “psychosclerosis” – hardening of the mind.
    drjim sellner,PhD.,DipC.

  6. Scott Crandall says:

    Imagine that! An academic who started a “conversation” (I’m being politically correct) by making a controversial assertion disguised as “study findings”?
    I don’t know Dan Pink from Shirley Orange, but certainly we all know that different incentives work (or don’t work) in varying circumstances, with diverse groups and unique individuals.
    Another academic food fight reminds of Chesterton’s quote: “Most educational theories are not as old as the children being taught.” The only place more prone to the siren call of fashion than business and academia is a Paris runway.

  7. Wally Bock says:

    Great comments, Paul. And great suggestions for things to think about.
    Let me add another practical reality. As a boss, part of my job is to create a workplace where there’s both high productivity and high morale. The only tool I have for that is my own behavior: what I say and do. And the only things about team members I can use as a guide is their behavior and their performance. It would be nice to be able to peer inside another person’s soul and find out what intrinsic motivations work best and then pull the right lever. But I can’t do that.
    If I’m the CEO, my problem is compounded by the fact that I don’t deal directly with most of the people who actually make a difference in the workplace. My job is to drive the corporate culture through what we reward and make sure that compensation is fair and support my bosses all the way down the org chart.

  8. Kurt Nelson says:

    Great thoughts here – you were able to identify a lot of what I’ve been thinking about regarding Dan’s message. Another point that I’d like to express is that even some of the research from the educational world highlights the fact that incentives can increase creativity, productivity and even intrinsic motivation. Work done by Eisenberger, Cameron and Pierce showed that the way incentives were structured influenced the impact they had on all of these. It is important, as you said, that it is not an “All” or “Nothing” comparison, but one that looks at what are the “Right” ways to engage employees and how to best do that across the business spectrum.

  9. Paul Hebert says:

    Thanks Kurt – and for those that got this far in the comments Kurt has a nice post on this as well on their blog. http://tinyurl.com/qz6gto

  10. Great contribution to this conversation: Interesting research and a useful reminder that extrinsic motivators are a valuable tool in managing performance.
    I’ve recommended this article to StepStone’s customer community in this week’s blog post at http://budurl.com/0909011
    Thanks for sharing

  11. Paul Hebert says:

    Thanks for the link love!

  12. Wally Bock says:

    Congratulations! This post was selected as one of the five best independent business blog posts of the week in my Three Star Leadership Midweek Review of the Business Blogs.
    Wally Bock

  13. Paul Hebert says:

    Thanks Wally – always an honor to be included in your weekly roundup!

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