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1. pp 77-81 “DRIVE: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us,” Daniel H. Pink, Riverhead Press, NY, 2009, 242 pp.

2. “A Motivational Basis of Performance and Well-Being in Two Settings,” Bard, Deci & Ryan, Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 34, 2004.

3. p 80 “DRIVE, The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,” Daniel H. Pink, Riverhead Press, 2009, 242 pp.

4. p 85, supra.

5. Introduction xii-xiii, “Mastery, The Keys to Success and Long-term Fulfillment,” George Leonard, Plume Books, 1992, 176pp.

About the Author
Caela Farren, Ph. D.
, President of MasteryWorks, is a leading career development authority providing solutions to large and mid-size companies, including Sprint, Lockheed-Martin, and Capitol One. MasteryWorks provides enterprise web portals, training, consulting, and an assessment framework for employees and managers. For more than 30 years, Dr. Farren has been a tireless advocate around complex issues redefining the workplace. She envisioned the current workplace climate by more than a decade, when she published the book, “Who is Running Your Career: Creating Stable Work in Unstable Times” (Bard Press, 1997). Through MasteryWorks, she oversees solutions that create the foundation for impact-filled “career conversations” - centered on increased contribution, performance, and fit. Her strategic approach consistently delivers on employee engagement and retention goals for her clients

Contact Tom Karl, Executive Vice President for more information - or (703) 256-5712.
Article Archives
Motivating on a Budget - Doing More with Less
by Caela Farren, Ph.D., MasteryWorks, Inc.


Today, we face changes of historic proportion in the makeup of jobs, our workforce and the science that informs us on how people are motivated.
The workplace has always been an amorphous structure. Like most living institutions, it evolves and changes. Economic events, extrinsic forces and internal decisions shape jobs and the people that fill them in order to meet organizational needs. Today, we face changes of historic proportion in the makeup of jobs, our workforce and the science that informs us on how people are motivated.

For more than two decades, jobs that carried with them instruction booklets or a book of rules have been vanishing. Routine mechanical jobs have been outsourced, shipped offshore, automated or computerized. Beginning in 2008, the Wall Street and Toxic Bank Recession sent millions more of scripted, repetitive jobs packing, most of them to never return.

The sum total of these events is that managers and organizations are facing a having-to-do-more-with-less workplace. It’s a culture where the word “manage” has been replaced with the term “autonomy.” It’s an atmosphere where conceptual, cognitive, creative jobs will multiply while most routine, mechanical, and repetitive jobs; - work directed by others - will vanish. It is a place where new generations entering the workforce as well as older displaced workers face far more complex, challenging, and self-directed work. In this changing landscape, personal and organizational success will depend on non-routine, right-brain, asynchronous, fast-paced collaborative, networked and socially meaningful work.

Facing Changes of the Next Decade
How will the new landscape look in the next decade? Who will fit into the changing culture? Which companies will be the most competitive? How do you jumpstart employees in a do-more-with-less culture? And how do managers respond to the changing landscape? How do they retain and motivate their workforce in a culture where carrots and sticks won’t work any more?

The New Landscape
While repetitive, non-cognitive tasks may account for a small portion of job growth in the United States, the overwhelming sector of job growth will center on non-routine, creative, and conceptual work. Routine jobs are being outsourced or automated every day because imaginative, non-routine work cannot be easily displaced. The shift in landscape is clear, but traveling through it may not be as easy.

Dan Pink paints a new motivational landscape in his recent book, “Drive, The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,” (Riverhead Press, 2009, 242 pp). Among other things, he frames the way we think about energizing our human capital. Pink believes our ideas about motivation need to change. What worked well with routine jobs will remain the same; but carrots and sticks will not motivate performance with creative and cognitive jobs. Where benefits, salary and other employee compensation meet reasonably competitive expectations, the old system of reward and punishment, carrots and sticks, and other incentive and bonus payments will not motivate higher levels of engagement and performance. Instead, they are likely to narrow focus, restrict and reduce creativity. Creative workers are self-motivated and pay-for-performance strategies can be addictive, undermine innovation, foster shortcuts, poor practices and short-term thinking.

Intrinsic Motivation – A Renewable Resource

The secret to high performance and satisfaction is the deeply rooted human need to direct our own lives. There is an inner yearning in each of us to control our own destinies, excel at our work, and accomplish something that will endure.

Dan Pink divides behavior into two types: “Type X and Type I. Type X behavior is more fueled by extrinsic desires than intrinsic. It concerns itself less with satisfaction of an activity and more with the external rewards to which that activity leads…. [while] Type I behavior is fueled more by intrinsic rewards to which an activity leads and more with the inherent satisfaction of the activity itself.” He likens Type X behavior to coal. “It’s cheap, easy and finite. Getting more of it costs more. Type I behavior, built around intrinsic motivation, is a resource, easily replenished inexpensive, safe to use, and endlessly renewable.” He believes that “if we want to strengthen our organizations, get beyond our decade of underachievement, and address the inchoate sense that something’s gone wrong… we need to move Type X behavior to Type I.”[1]

Pay More and Get Less

Sure, money motivates workers who have routine, repetitive, left-brain jobs. Money will even motivate people with non-routine, right-brain, creative, asynchronous jobs - but to a point, beyond which more pay is ineffectual and often damaging. If workers with creative, cognitive jobs are satisfied with their compensation package, more pay for higher performance doesn’t enter the equation. Their motivation is internally self-directed. Giving creative people independence produces innovating ideas for services and products. Some say new ideas are expensive, but over the long haul mediocrity is more expensive. This is the resounding message for leaders and managers: give creative workers autonomy and see where they take you. Money produces compliance, but freedom leads to innovation.

Autonomy, Mastery, and Meaning
Some years ago, a landmark Cornell University study compared 320 small companies, half offering workers autonomy in flat organizations and the other half in closely managed environments in traditional organizational pyramids. The companies offering autonomy to workers grew four times faster than those that did not.[2]

Follow up studies demonstrated that trust goes a long way. Granting workers independence and time to innovate on a daily basis produces a passion for work. Google and Whole Foods are perfect examples of organizations that value autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Both operate on paper-thin hierarchies in a broad network of teams. Google splits workers into hundreds of groups on average of three or four people, allowing them as much as 30% of their working time for experimentation, innovation and an open line to corporate senior staff. Whole Foods is made up of independent self managed teams where autonomy and self-direction are encouraged. Trust and freedom empower employees to test-drive their ideas quickly and inexpensively to see how far they can travel along the path. Google and Whole Foods’ retention and engagement levels remain among the highest in their respective industries.

Internal Motivators
Motivation comes from within. Employees are born with gifts of initiative, creativity and passion. Managers must provide insight, values and opportunities to place their reports into the right job and career fit. But they need to do more than find ways to foster the unique gifts of their individual reports. How can managers keep employees retained, engaged and contributing to the strategic success of their organization at high levels? The answer lies in knowing how to support internal motivators within each employee.

Dan Pink points to “three [essential] nutrients” that nourish high degrees of engagement:

  • Autonomy responds to the human need of taking command of our own lives and destinies. It provides significant independence and self-direction.
  • Mastery pursues the desire to become the best at something that matters. It provides education, training, mentoring and encourages them to be the best at their jobs.
  • Meaning satisfies an inner yearning to serve others in some way larger than ourselves. It provides meaning to our work that adds social value and benefits mankind.[3]

Go With the Flow
Barreling down the Whistler Sliding Track in a four-man bobsled at 95 miles per hour, Olympic Champion Steve Holcomb was in the flow when he ended a 62-year American drought in the sport and won gold. Evan Lysacek was in the flow carving a magnificent figure on the ice at the Vancouver Olympics. Willie Mays developed a perfect swing and was in the flow. Dr. Jonas Salk , Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Sergey Brin and Larry Page are but a few terrestrial astronauts who boarded their personal starship to boldly go where no man had gone before. The flow is less in the achievement than the road traveled to get to the top. They all practiced diligently, honed their mental and physical skills to attain new levels. But in doing so – this is the exorable fact of the journey – they had to spend most of their time on a series of plateaus, working hard at their goals even when they seemed to be getting nowhere.

These superstars all have one thing in common. When they achieved the height of their most satisfying experiences, they all sensed a state of deep well-being and inspiration where clouds lifted and their goals became clear. Their struggle to achieve their goals closed so that, with body and mind once stretched, they climbed the summit to reach to the top of their Everest. “In flow,” Pink wrote, “people live so deeply in the moment, and [feel] so utterly in control, that their sense of time place and self [melts] away.”[4] In his book, “Mastery, The Keys to Success and Long-term Fulfillment,” George Leonard points out: “If there is any sure route to success and fulfillment in life, it to be found in the long term, essentially goalless process of mastery. This is true, it appears, in personal as well as professional life, in economics, ice skating or in medicine.”[5]

Managers Count
Managers hold the key to unlocking the oxygen of the soul in the workplace. Managers can create and foster a culture where intrinsic motivators rule and employees have a chance to become fully engaged. They can provide the environment for each employee to get into his or her flow. People who are intrinsically motivated have greater self-esteem, improved interpersonal relationships and well-being than others who are externally motivated. Focusing an internal spotlight on something that matters to each and every employee and providing them with a culture and tools to be better than anyone else will drive engagement, innovation and mastery both on a personal level and within an organization. It is a surefire road to organizational success. If managers continue to motivate externally with pay for performance benefits, they can expect to have their best and brightest employees stressed out and feeling edgy, easily tired or sleepless with difficulty concentrating on problems, irritable and tense. Their most creative workers will be unproductive over time and eventually lead the organization to reassess motivational strategies.

Managers who can have in-depth career conversations with their employees provide a culture for autonomy, mastery and meaning. They must be good listeners and build on what they learn from their questioning. As elementary as it sounds, each worker is different.

Any of the following questions can open doors of understanding and opportunity for both managers and employees:
  • What can you do best?
  • How are you unique?
  • What would you love to work on? What do you think you can achieve?
  • What jobs are important to you?
  • What are your greatest outside interests?
  • What are your strengths? What have you achieved that support these strengths?
  • How would you describe your reputation? Who believes that your reputation is important?
  • What profession are you in? What level of mastery have you attained?
  • What are your aspirations?
  • What contributions would you like to make this year using your unique strengths and experience?
  • What do you need t learn to make an even greater contribution to the organization?
  • Is there any education you need to broaden your career options?
There’s an organic life to these questions that can open up thoughts about future choices. The nice soul-searching provided by these questions and a listening ear can open some doors in thinking about abilities and future aspirations. Engaging in conversation leads to surprising places and new discoveries for both managers and employees. Managing on a tighter budget just might lead to highly motivated employees. Test it out for yourself!

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