#KEYIDEAS from „Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us“ by Daniel H. Pink

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us" by Daniel Pink

The key lessons learned from „Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink:

  • Difference between motivation 1.0 (=basic needs like food, safe place, reproduce) was replaced by motivation 2.0 (reward and punishment)
  • Motivation 3.0: Intrinsic Motivation instead of incentives, which means if you find a job fulfilling no further motivation is basically necessary (e.g. if somebody shares recipes online).
    Nevertheless intrinsic motivated people care more about what to work on, when to work and what they are responsible for (e.g. especially millennials and generation z).
  • External incentives can even demotivate intrinsic motivated individuals (e.g. certain amount of money for doing a task) and can even prevent more creative ideas.
  • Children lose their intrinsic motivation naturally when growing up, if they get too much external rewards this can even accelerate (e.g. developing a mindest that a task will only be done, of there is a reward).
  • Passion and dedication can only arise if intrinsic motivation is the basis. This can enable the flow state (e.g. a painter who is creating a piece of art) and the ambition for perfection. Trying to have employees in this area is key to enhance the performance of a team or department.
  • The pursuit of meaningfulness is getting more and more important in nowadays society. Only having financial aspirations is not a key to lasting motivation and more often leads to depression (even when the desired manager position was reached).
    Meaningful = giving back to society (or help others independently of their job description)
  • Developing dedicated employees: Set certain goals, but leave it more open when and how the goal will be reached (self determination)
  • Upgrade your company to motivation 3.0 and therefor significantly enhance productivity and dedication: 
    – constructive feedback
    – self decision-making
    – pronouncing the relevance of each individual
    – allocating tasks that suits individual abilities
    – if possible make the meaning of the work more transparent (e.g. higher purpose as in ensuring the safety of a product, help society)
    – as a manager: set new rewards, meaningful goals and leave room for self determination
  • Sum up:  Strive for motivation 3.0 in order to have lasting motivation in your company or team. More freedom in how a goal is achieved can be key.
  • My thoughts: In trying to find out the individual strengths of your employees and allocating tasks in this direction, it is possible to generate intrinsic motivation – and therefor dedication in doing a great job. Especially with the young generation it is key to focus on individual drivers.


For more details I can recommend to read the whole book:

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