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Drive by Daniel H. Pink  challenges the classical ‘if-then’ and other extrinsic motivators against the intrinsic ones. DRIVE is about the surprising truth about what motivates us. He talks about how the extrinsic motivators have dangerous side effects. These give pleasure at first but the feeling diminishes soon and to keep it alive, the recipient requires more frequent and larger doses.

I must say it was a good read, not overly interesting though. Perhaps that’s because I am generally not very inclined towards non-fiction.  And that is why it took me so so long to read this not-so-long book! Most of the review here will consist of lines/quotes directly from the book which I liked and want to share. Parts of book are a bit confusing while parts of it are very convincing. 

Why Extrinsic Benefits do not work?

The tangible motivators diminishes the depth of thinking. If companies pay extrinsic benefits to employees, it achieves short term goals but long term health of the company is threatened. If a students get a prize for reading three books, most of them will not pick up the fourth one! Author has given many varied examples throughout the book to prove his point.

Extrinsic reward must be unexpected and must be offered only when the task is completed, else it makes people focus on the reward rather than attacking the problem.  This is making the “if then” reward as “now that” reward…. which means “now that you have done this, lets celebrate with blah blah”.

He talk about three elements:  autonomy, mastery and purpose for “Type I” behaviour which is fuelled by intrinsic desires.

Autonomy: Management is not about walking around and making sure people are in their offices, it’s about creating conditions for people do their best work.  When people are empowered, they can create magic. Companies like Atlassian and 3M have encouraged people to spend certain % of their time to work on things that interest them. It was in such time that Post-it Notes was invented by Art Fry. Lot of great products like Google Talk, Gmail, Google News , Google Translate were created by Google employees in the 20% of their time they were encouraged to spend on projects of their choice.

“Encouraging autonomy does not mean reducing accountability.”

Mastery : Goldilocks Tasks  are tasks that are neither too difficult not too simple. One common cause of frustration in workplace is because of mismatch between what people must do and what people can do. when what they must do exceeds their capabilities, result is anxiety.  When what they must do fall short of their capabilities, result is boredom. When the match is just right, result is glorious. Mastery abides by three peculiar rules: 

1) Mastery is a mindset: It requires the capacity to see your abilities not as finite , but as infinitely improvable.

2) Mastery is a pain: It demands effort, grit, and deliberate practise.

3) Mastery is an asymptote: Its impossible to fully realize, which makes it simultaneously frustrating and alluring.

Purpose: Apart from autonomy and mastery, purpose is quite essential. Autonomous people working toward mystery perform at very high levels, but those who do so in service of some greater objective can achieve even more. Purpose maximization occurs alongside Profit Maximization as an inspiration and a guiding principle.

The book has a tool-kit at the end which consists of sections like :

— Nine strategies for Awakening your Motivation

— Nine Ways to improve your company, office or group

— Fifteen Essential books

— Glossary.

This sections can be read in any random order and I found them more interesting. So, if you are not up for reading a whole book on motivation and motivators, at least these sections are recommended.