There is a lot of discussion lately about the “new” paradigm of motivation for our employees. The discussion, driven by books such as "Drive" by Dan Pink and others before him, focus on the need to tap into a more noble vein and eliminate the plebian tools we used in the past, the awards and the incentives, and in their stead provide vision and direction but allow the individual to work autonomously, learn and grow and be part of a larger effort.
I get that and I agree with it. At a basic level this is good stuff. But in a day-to-day business world it may not be effective.
Strategic vision is important. Getting people aligned is important. But without incentives to really break behavioral inertial we’re doomed.
I could spend the rest of this post explaining why creating programs and plans that drive behavior are important. I could harp on the role incentives and rewards play in those plans. I can talk forever about designing programs that reward those that implement – and implement well. But I’m not as good as the folks at the Daily Show are at bringing the problem home.
Comedy is truly a mirror on life – and in this case – a very, very clear mirror. We can talk about autonomy, mastery and purpose as foundations for motivation but as this clip below clearly communicates (email viewers may need to click through to see video) – it is only a piece of the motivation puzzle and you need, dare I say it – self-interest driven programs that reward individual effort. The same programs many are now abandoning in favor of the new age approach.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|An Energy-Independent Future|
In closing…If you think about it – energy independence is the perfect new age issue that should work well in the Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose world. It is something we each can do on our own (autonomy) – it’s not difficult to master (drive more efficient cars, use fluorescent bulbs, etc.) and what greater purpose is there than saving the planet, our country and the economy?
Yet… well… The video said it all.
I ask you –without getting into a political mud-fight – why did none of these leaders achieve their goals? Was it a lack of vision? Was it that we weren’t given the autonomy or weren’t allowed to use our own skills or was the purpose just too soft? Why?
Originally posted on on Incentive Intelligence