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Book Review: Drive -The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us

Daniel Pink’s book Drive –The surprising truth about what motivates us illustrates that most people think that money is the only reward to motivate people. In most cases giving carrot and stick approach to motivate people is wrong and giving same punishment and reward options over and over again will not bring best performance out of people.

He states that “The problem with making an extrinsic reward the only destination that matters is that some people will choose the quickest route there, even if it means taking the low road. Indeed, most of the scandals and misbehavior that have seemed endemic to modern life involve shortcuts.”

Author states that motivation can help to achieve goals and one of the most common things to motivate people is by using the principle of carrot and sticks which means to give some punishment and reward to motivate people. There is a huge difference in what science suggests and what various organizations practices. Motivating by using those standards can also cause harm to people and they do not always work.

People can also be motivated when they feel challenged and have interest in their work. Rewards can be used to motivate people but for those tasks which doesn’t require much interest. He suggests new ways that truly motivates people and these are Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose.

Autonomy includes a behavior in which people don’t need any direction. These people are the driver of their own desires. As a result this Autonomous behavior will make them a better student, a good sports man, a great leader and a good human being.

To develop autonomy in the work force is by providing good working conditions, where there is no reward and punishment system, where people have choice to work their own way. It develops intrinsic motivation and that’s why they always produce good results.

Pink explains that Mastery means that people always want perfect results for the things that matter to them. Mastery is a mindset, to always see some flaws in your abilities as there is always a room for improvement in it. To achieve Mastery in your work you need to do effort and hard work. Mastery is the best way to motivate people and it is not an easy task to do and it’s not that hard to achieve.

Purpose means that people want to achieve big things in their life and if they are provided those opportunities where they can achieve something that is larger than their self, they will feel more motivated and challenged. Daniel Pink argues that there are three pillars of purpose; Doing something that matters, Doing it well, Doing it in the service of a cause larger than ourselves.

Companies always go for profit maximization and in their way of achieving their goals they start motivating people by providing them good rewards in the end. They might earn profit but they neglect the purpose which is to satisfy people. To get better results, they need to go for purpose maximization instead of profit maximization. He states that following these rules can improve work environment, increase happiness and will make this world a good place.

Sean Coyne

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