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The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

By Daniel Pink
  • Read in 13 minutes
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  • Contains 9 key ideas
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Drive by Daniel Pink

In Drive, Daniel Pink describes the characteristics of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. He reveals that many companies rely on extrinsic motivation, even though this is often counterproductive. The book explains clearly how we can best motivate ourselves and others by understanding intrinsic motivation.

Key idea 1 of 9

Motivation 1.0 and motivation 2.0: basic needs and the stick and the carrot.

Around 50,000 years ago, man was preoccupied solely with his own survival – he was driven by motivation 1.0: the search for food and drink, a safe place to rest at night, and the desire to reproduce and pass on his genes.

Up until a few centuries ago, these basic needs were the main driving force of humanity. By no later than the age of industrialization, however, this had begun to change. Production cycles became more complex, and man started to rely increasingly on a new impetus for production: extrinsic motivation 2.0, which is based on the two incentives of reward and punishment by a third party – also known as the stick and the carrot.

The strategy behind this is that rewards reinforce desirable behavior. With the prospect of higher wages in mind, laborers haul more coal, and modern employees are quicker to respond to emails.

Punishment, by contrast, is intended to prevent undesirable behavior. Someone rebuked in front of the whole team will be late less often, and a person threatened with dismissal for stealing materials is not likely to purloin anything from the workplace.

Employers who rely on extrinsic motivation work on the premise that their workers, if not driven by the consequences of the stick and the carrot, fundamentally have no enthusiasm for their work and will try to shirk any responsibility; therefore, those in a management position must invariably direct and supervise them.

Though it might be that some modern companies have relaxed the dress code or working hours for the sake of keeping their workers happy, Motivation 2.0 continues to dominate the working world. The managing parties of the majority of firms are convinced that when it comes to motivating their employees, the only important factor other than basic human needs is the use of rewards and sanctions – and they manage their workers accordingly.

Motivation 1.0 and motivation 2.0: basic needs and the stick and the carrot.

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