Book Recollection: Drive

PHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwww!  That, my friends, is a huge sigh of relaxing relief.  It has been a fairly hectic 4 weeks or so for us starting with the TDAA Nationals (link here), then the annual Halloween party, followed by our vacation to the West and yesterday was my oldest Nephew’s wedding.  All these events kept us moving pretty fast getting all the required tasks done in time.  Surprisingly, I think everything turned out great, but we’ll enjoy the couple of weeks downtime until prepping for Thanksgiving.  Before I forget:

Congratulations to Jeff and Ally!  Best wishes for a wonderful life together.  Thanks for letting us share in your special day and experience the happiness evident throughout the day.

With that said it’s post time.  I did start working on the vacation pictures, but there are still gigs and gigs of images to postprocess (and one or two of them don’t look that bad – ha).  Rather than wait until that effort is completed, I’m going with a recollection from a book completed just before heading out on vacation.  This book is Drive by Daniel H. Pink.  Drive was gaining some interest among my company’s upper management and it is always advantageous to understand what might be “driving” (golf clap) their decision process.  As an added bonus, the topic of this book personally interested me.  Along the lines of other human behavior books in my reading history (links here),  Drive focused on what motivates people to accomplish something.  What are the current day ingredients that gets a worker out of bed and excited to make a difference in the work day?  Is it money?.. is it our undying devotion to the corporate mantra?.. or something in between?   According to Daniel, the times have changed and the old philosophies to a productive team have changed, making way for Motivation 3.0.

Drive was actually a quick read and clearly hit home in some areas based on the extent of my takeaways.  Do I think it is a universal explanation of what motivates all people in the corporate world.. nah, but I think it does explain how to encourage and manage people who truly enjoy what they do, are self motivated and deliverable oriented.   I think to dismiss carrot and stick motivation techniques is a dangerous game especially if the last workforce management consultant already got that concept entrenched.  However, there is nothing more fulfilling than successfully deliver on a service/product where you are given the responsibility  along with the decision rights to make that happen.  Flow is a definite reality as mentioned in the takeaways below.  The more challenging and less prescriptive the task the greater chance in entering the flow – which by my definition is simply losing track of time due to complete engagement on a problem – a pinnacle of performance in any company.

I guess at the core of the book is to demonstrate why risk/reward .. carrot and stick, if you will .. fails in today’s corporate world.  He sums this up in 7 flaws; extinguish intrinsic motivation, diminish performance, crush creativity, crowd out good behavior, encourage shortcuts/cheating/unethical behavior, becomes addictive and fosters short term thinking.  If you are a manager, you might become quite concerned after reading that.  What I can’t decide for myself is if it is really carrot and stick that is at the root of these negatives are rather how it is applied.  Other than my dogs (or that hilarious Big Bang Theory episode with Penny and chocolate), I don’t know many people who want someone dispensing a piece of candy every time they hit send on their Microsoft project updates.  However, given a well crafted SMART goal (as something to strive for, difficult to create though) the reward side of that could have a card in the game.

So give it a read and try to internalize it… if nothing else, you will gain some insights if changes start happening in your reward system. Oh, and kudos to the author for giving a “Recap” section at the end of the book that highlighted the key concepts from his perspective complete with tweet and elevator stories.  This helped sink some of my main takeaways.

Hit the jump for my takeaways:

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