Friday, January 8, 2010
Why Carrots and Sticks Are Suddenly Passe
Daniel Pink’s just-published book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us (Riverhead Books) is beginning to get some attention. Credit the former Al Gore speechwriter (and author of the bestselling A Whole New Mind) with leveling a blow at “pay for performance” schemes at the precise moment when big bonuses are sooooooo unfashionable. Pink says that, provided people have a baseline level of pay, what really moves them toward high levels of performance are such factors as autonomy on the job, mastery over a craft, and a sense of contributing to a higher purpose.
Stanford B-school professor Robert Sutton believes Pink “does a masterful job of showing the limits and drawbacks of widely accepted assumptions about motivation--showing the limits of carrots and sticks.” (To read Sutton’s comments, go to: http://bobsutton.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/12/drive-daniel-pinks-definitive-and-fun-guide-to-motivation.html)
On The Wall Street Journal’s website, Barbara Chai quotes Pink as recommending that people look for personal motivation--their “third drive”—by considering things they do for fun. “Think about whether you can make a living doing that,” says Pink. “It’s more possible than people think.” (Go to http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704152804574628230428869074.html
My own take is recorded today on the Fortune.com website at http://money.cnn.com/2010/01/07/news/daniel_pink.fortune/index.htm
An NPR “Talk of the Nation” spot with Pink can be heard at: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122221202&ft=1&f=5
As I cast about for further writing gigs, let me offer a New Year’s wish that baseline pay doesn’t become passé. A Los Angeles Times article details the woeful situation now facing freelance writers: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-et-onthemedia6-2010jan06,0,2787168.column