Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dan Pink - Rethinking Carrots and Sticks

One of my favorite websites is

TED stands for “Technology, Entertainment, Design.” The group started out in 1984 and has a loyal following because it organizes conferences that bring together some of the world’s brightest people who are challenged to make an outstanding presentation in 18 minutes!

Dan Pink, a lawyer by training and a former speechwriter for Al Gore is one of the bright people who accepted the TED challenge. He gave a TED talk last summer at Oxford University on “Rethinking the Ideology of Carrots and Sticks” in the workplace.

Everyone in the incentive field should watch the clip for no other reason than Dan challenges many conventional beliefs on workplace incentives. Basically, he says there is a huge mismatch between what social science has proven about extrinsic “carrot” incentives and what business practices. Dan states that carrots can hinder our abilities because we focus far too much on the incentive to the exclusion of everything else. In other words, extrinsic incentives can suppress and distort our innate intrinsic values.

You can expect to hear a lot more on this topic because Dan will be releasing a new book called, “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us”. It will be published in late December.

Dan believes that “Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose” are key intrinsic motivation drivers. I understand where he is coming from and think Dan makes some very valid points!

We need a new paradigm that goes beyond the traditional carrot and stick approach. One that will unlock employees' intrinsic drivers and create environments that allow them to grow as individuals, because when they grow, so do our companies.