I just watched a TED video by Dan Pink on the science of motivation. He makes the case that there is a huge gap between what science knows about motivation and what companies do. Over and over again, study after study prove that the carrot and stick model of rewards and punishment are not effective.
Actually, he says they are effective in the kind of work where the tasks are specific and known, where all you do is follow the predetermined steps to accomplish the work. But in work that requires some creative thinking, or some unknown process or outcome, then the reward model actually makes performance worse.
The new model, that is most effective for the kind of right brain work we do, revolves around three principles: Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose.
Autonomy: The urge to direct our own lives.
Mastery: The desire to get better and better at something that matters.
Purpose: The yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.
Makes sense to me. I’m realizing more and more that this is the kind of work environment model where I would flourish.
And I would venture to guess that a lot of you would too.
Check out the presentation at http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation.html