The Surprising Science of Motivation

Do you have 19 free minutes in your day today?  Let me re-phrase that: you need to free up 19 minutes in your day today, because you need to watch the Dan Pink talk.

In case Dan Pink’s name is familiar, he used to be Al Gore’s speechwriter.  In this particular speech, Dan explains why the typical “carrots and sticks” reward and punishment system utilized by so many companies often does not work and how science has proven it.

Dan’s argument is that carrots and sticks are effective only for simple tasks, where the focus indeed needs to be narrow.  But here in the 21st century, most of those simple tasks have been automated or outsourced.  In today’s workplace, problems are larger and fuzzier, and tunnel vision does not facilitate good, creative, sustainable solutions.

At around the 12:30 mark, Dan starts talking about alternative modes of conceptualizing work.  And though most of his examples are in the tech and software industries, it would be very interesting to see what would happen if brave hospitality companies adopted some of the same radical ideas for their work environments.

The bottom line is this: there is a mismatch between what science knows and what business does.  As long as that mismatch exists, and businesses do nothing to resolve it, how can we expect to get out of this economic recession and ultimately flourish?

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