In this Ted Talk, career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don’t: Traditional rewards aren’t always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories — and maybe, a way forward. The video talk is about 18 minutes. You can also visit the Ted Talks page to view a transcript if you prefer a text version of the talk or to read the 900+ comments the talk has generated. Here’s a brief excerpt:
I spent the last couple of years looking at the science of human motivation, particularly the dynamics of extrinsic motivators and intrinsic motivators. And I’m telling you, it’s not even close. If you look at the science, there is a mismatch between what science knows and what business does. And what’s alarming here is that our business operating system — think of the set of assumptions and protocols beneath our businesses, how we motivate people, how we apply our human resources — it’s built entirely around these extrinsic motivators, around carrots and sticks. That’s actually fine for many kinds of 20th century tasks. But for 21st century tasks, that mechanistic, reward-and-punishment approach doesn’t work, often doesn’t work, and often does harm.