I recently ran across a meme that said, "My resume is just a list of things I really never want to do again." It made me chuckle a bit and then made feel a little depressed. Luckily, I don't share that opinion; I really love my career. Why is it that so many people dislike theirs? Perhaps if we conducted a study we would learn that most people don't really dislike what they do, they haven’t found a way to connect what they do to why they do it (beyond the paycheck).
In 2013, Forbes magazine reported on the Gallup poll, "Work is more often a source of frustration than fulfillment for nearly 90% of the worlds workers." The good news for those of us who reside in the United States, is that it's closer to 70%. Think about that for a minute though...7 out 10 people are frustrated by their jobs. 7 of 10 people do not feel fulfilled by their jobs. Another Gallup poll in 2017 showed the number of people emotionally disconnected from their job is 85%. 62% are not engaged (hate their job), 23% are actively disengaged (pretty much hate their job), and only 15% feel engaged (love their job). Are these staggering statistics a result of a poor career choices, poor leadership, lack of training, lack of upward mobility, or perhaps a lack of motivation? I don't think so.
"When it comes to motivation, there's a gap between what science knows and what business does." a quote by Daniel H. Pink.
I recently read a book by Pink, if you haven't checked out his work, I highly recommend you do. His book, DRIVE: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, released in 2009 addresses this very topic. Pink's book is full of scientific experiments by Economists, Social Psychologists, and Scientists conducting studies around what motivates us and what doesn't. You'll have to buy the book to get the details, however I'll share his theory on motivation; not what gets people out of bed every day, what inspires them to be the very best they can be, to operate at their fullest capacity, and go beyond the expectations of the job; to become fully engaged.
Pink says there are three motivational drivers, he describes them as Motivation 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0:
Motivation 1.0 - This is the biological drive to eat, drink, and procreate. Essentially, meeting our basic needs.
Motivation 2.0 - This is the most commonly recognized driver and what most businesses use today to motivate…Rewards & Punishments, also referred to by Pink as “Carrots and Sticks”.
“The phrase "carrot and stick" is a metaphor for the use of a combination of reward and punishment to induce a desired behavior. It is based on the idea that a cart driver might activate a reluctant mule by dangling a carrot in front of it and smacking it on the rear with a stick.” Wikipedia
Example of Rewards – “Carrots”: Compensation, Benefits, Bonuses, Trips, Raises, and Promotions
Example of Punishments – “Sticks”: Being Fired (supreme to all others)
For most people, compensation is one of the biggest “carrots” of all. There is some truth to this. People are motivated to pay the rent/mortgage, put food on the table, and keep the lights one. And frankly, not many are willing to work for free. The question is, does that pay check motivate you to reach your fullest potential?
According to Pink, Motivation 2.0 is why people show up; it’s not what drives them to fulfillment, engagement, and a sense of purpose. Pink also says that adequate compensation is merely a baseline reward. When baseline rewards are insufficient, workers will focus on how they are treated unfairly; creativity and productivity will decline, and the seven deadly sins can ensue:
Pinks’ Seven Deadly Flaws of Motivation 2.0:
1. They extinguish intrinsic motivation (internal motivation driving our behaviors)
2. They can diminish performance
3. They can crush creativity
4. They can crowd out good behavior
5. They can encourage cheating, shortcuts, and unethical behavior
6. They can foster short-term thinking
Motivation 3.0 - This is the purpose motive.
Pink says, “We’re not destined to be passive and compliant, we are destined to be active and engaged. We know the richest moments of our lives are not when we’re clamoring for validation from others, but when we’re listening to our own voice - doing something that matters, doing it well, and doing it in the service of something larger than ourselves.”
Read that 2 or 3 times, if it doesn’t resonate, I don’t know what will. This (in my opinion) is the very reason why so many people feel disengaged at work. They aren’t being motivated by the right reasons. A paycheck to pay your mortgage will only give you a place to live (which of course, is VERY important and necessary) but it won’t lead you to fulfillment and purpose.
Motivation 3.0 is all about Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose; the three elements of Motivation 3.0.
Autonomy - The ability to be self-directed. DRIVE: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us is full stories of organizations that have embraced this philosophy and allowed their employees more control over what they do, how they do it, and when they do it. While it may seem a bit radical according to today’s corporate standards, these organizations have found they are outperforming their competitors in customer service, new product development, and sales.
Mastery- While motivation 2.0 requires compliance, motivation 3.0 requires engagement. Engagement leads to mastery – the desire to become better at something that’s meaningful to a person. True mastery can never be reached as someone seeking mastery will always strive to know more and became better. The drive is internal, not driven by the goals or expectations of an external party.
Purpose – People, by nature, want to contribute and be part of something greater than themselves. They desire a purpose. The challenge for most people and organizations is to find a way to align intrinsic (personal) goals with organizational goals. Some organizations have figured out this recipe and the results are staggering.
So, what motivates YOU? What gets you out of bed every morning? More importantly, once you get out of bed, do you feel fulfilled and engaged? Are you working to master your craft? Do you feel you have a sense of purpose?
Please share your comments, I’d love to know what others think about Pink’s theory on motivation. Do you believe that offering autonomy to all workers would allow more people to feel less managed, more engaged, more fulfilled; leading them to strive for mastery, and find their purpose? Or do you question whether most people are even capable of handling the freedom of autonomy and motivating themselves to self-direct?
Grab the book, give it a read!
Written by: Kimberly Shapiro