What can go right

The post What can go right is definitely worth pondering on.

My takeaways are as follows:

  • It’s easier to focus on what can go wrong (wondering why?)
  • Definitely more things can go wrong (not sure if all wrong outcomes are realistic)
  • It’s more difficult to protect against them, although you can take some measures you can’t cover all bases.
  • It’s more difficult to control them – earthquakes, flooding, accidents come to mind.
  • It seems that less things can go right (is it because we don’t dream big enough?)
  • Yet paradoxically there is a better control over them – it’s the daily actions that lead to outcomes we seek.
  • It’s more satisfying to do something right – cut the grass, write a blog post, play with your child, go out for a dinner with a loved one.

If you were to draw up a list of what is not worth losing? So far I came up with the following.

  • Family
  • Health
  • Soul

What about you?

Lessons from the “Drive”

Keeping up with any productivity systems requires dedication, will power and motivation. Making sure that the system is constantly updated that it contains actual information can take a lot of work. Sometimes when we struggle with too many assignments it’s easy to let the whole system go.
The book that made a lot of buzz in recent month and that looks at the traditional and scientific approach to motivation is Daniel Pink’s "Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us".

The main concept of the book looks at the interrelation between two of the three of our drives.

Traditional concepts of motivation assumed that reward / punish  is the most effective approach. Throwing more money or threatening with more severe punishments was and still is a common practice to ensure that job gets done. This concept still works in some type of jobs which are mostly simple outcome, procedure or routine based. 
However it appears that science does not support that support that view. In his TED talk Daniel Pink describes an experiment conducted over 40 years ago where researchers have discovered that people rewarded with high payoff were less creative and engaged and had bigger problem in solving the task than those with smaller reward. (the talk is just 20 min long but it’s well worth it)

What does this mean for current workers? The ongoing shift to so called knowledge work means that old approach of carrots and sticks is less and less effective. Daniel Pink says that what we need is to motivate people by giving them option to develop three intrinsic elements: autonomy, mastery, purpose.
Although I’m yet to read this book, you can get a pretty good idea what’s it about by reading blogs and interviews with Dan Pink.

Below is an outline of some key lessons that I’ve learned.

  • On Mastery – it’s not possible to  become a master with out feedback. No athlete or musician becomes true master with out constant improvement and reviewing of his work. The so called performance review in our work places are not enough to bring any reasonable value. Dan Pink’s advise is to set your own goals for things you want to learn or do and then review the progress monthly. Mark your self against the desired result and see where you fell short and where your succeeded.
  • On Purpose -  you need to find what’s your internal drive. Pink’s advise think what gives you the most satisfaction at work, what would you spend your time on, what would you do for free. If you answer these then you will be on the right track to finding a purpose.
  • On autonomy- educate your boss so he/she can understand that giving large amount of autonomy will result in greater satisfaction, creativity and engagement. Be working example of such beheviour as the persisting view is that more autonomy means more slacking off.

Some other lessons/observations:

  • Top motivator for people is chance to develop and making progress.
  • Carrot & sticks still works however it’s good only the in short run  as it narrows focus to produce only one thing. As result it limits chances for great work.
  • Carrot & stick approach creates constant expectation of reward and risk of taking shortcuts to get it – vide current financial crisis.
  • Money matters are still important but for jobs that are creative it’s best to take the issue of money off the table.
  • Although the intrinsic motivators are effective not only for knowledge work. Any profession can benefit from using them. Pink gives a great example of hospital janitors who were given some autonomy over their work and this little change resulted in greater work satisfaction, lesser turnover and continuous progress.

This book is definitely worth reading and I’ll be sure to order it with my next Amazon purchase.

References:

  1. Daniel Pink’s Drive – Recommended – Harvard Business Review
  2. How to Stay Motivated: Daniel Pink on ‘Drive’ – WSJ.com
  3. Daniel Pink On His New Book, ‘Drive,’ And What Motivates People
  4. Drive: Daniel Pink’s Definitive and Fun Guide to Motivation – Bob Sutton
  5. My full review of Dan Pink’s “Drive”… // Brett’s Waste Blog
  6. Drive by Daniel Pink – Jessica Smith – Digital Influencer, Marketing Strategist, Creative Thinker
  7. New Release: The Bottom-line on Daniel Pink’s “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” « Mine Your Resources
  8. Drive – Video Book Review
  9. The Four Essential Drives That Every Creative Needs
  10. The Hidden Art of Achieving Creative Flow | Zen Habits
  11. A Story About Motivation – Peter Bregman – Harvard Business Review
  12. ‘Drive’ Not Always Explained By Rewards : NPR
  13. Full Interview: Daniel Pink on Motivation 3.0