Monday, March 14, 2011

To motivate or not to motivate

This is not a blog post but I wanted to share this with you. It's a video debunking the myths on what really motivates us. It's a relatively old theory that I've encountered many times in the past few years, but this video is to the point and extremely entertaining (who doesn't like things explained to them in cartoons?). It also forced me to think more about my work and helped me set clearer objectives for myself. This is a must watch for anyone whose career is an essential part of their life. Here it is:

In brief, the basic premise of this theory is that people whose jobs require even some analytical thinking cannot be motivated by money. This is not to say that they shouldn't get paid well. On the contrary, they should be paid well enough so that money is not an issue, otherwise they would be looking for work elsewhere. The problem is, these same people will not perform better when the motivation is only a cash incentive. In fact, they will sometimes perform worse.

So according to this same theory, what truly motivates us are three things:
1. Autonomy (being independent at work)
2. Mastery (becoming an expert at something)
3. Purpose (feeling like you have contributed to the world around you)

All of this rang so true to me and it made me realize how many of us are caught in the trap of being paid handsomely but having none of the three motivational elements. This means that you have no incentive to leave and no incentive to work. It's a lose-lose situation for both the employee and the employer.

And that's my two cents worth on the subject.


Mustapha said...

This by the way also explain why people create blogs and dedicate a part of their time to write without expecting any monetary rewards..

kmango said...

So well summarized Lama!I totally relate to that, though I feel like I have all of those 3 things. Shame I get paid shit!

Zainab's views said...

I agree some ppl care more about their career more than the pay check... but what are their percentage in our part of the world?!?! where salaries are only preventing ppl from dying...

I can't see this applies to our part of the world!!

Annika said...

This also explains why raising the salaries for public servants does not automatically curb corruption in poor, highly corruptive countries.
(The assumption is: people take bribes because the salary cannot support them and their family. Raise of income doesn't change the bribes, though, because there is a lack of acknowledgement and motivation that is separate from the salary.)