Factoid Friday – Motivation Doesn’t Come From Commissions, Money, Or Compensation


Scientist Sam Glucksberg once conducted an experiment where he divided a collection of participants into two groups, assigning both groups the Candle Problem. He gave one of the groups a cash prize incentive if they solved the problem faster than the average person who took the test. Surprisingly, members of this group took three and a half minutes longer (on average) to complete the task

Source: Drive by Daniel Pink and Wikipedia

Modern management techniques tell us to motivate by the carrot and stick but the carrot and stick method doesn’t work unless it’s a simple task with a simple outcome. The more complex a task the less successful the carrot and stick method become. For more simple solutions and known outcomes the carrot and stick work great like routine left brain activity that can be easily outsourced or done by computer programs. Today’s problems are more complex and have unknown solutions. Rewards will narrow our focus and limit our possibilities and aren’t effective with today’s problems we see.

In a 21st Century work environment where cognitive ability is highly prized and intrinsic motivation works much better than extrinsic motivators under these circumstances. Daniel pink talks about his model of autonomy, mastery, and sense of purpose. Give people autonomy to do what they want and when they want (see ROWE), teach them how to master what they are doing and give them a “why you are doing it.” The combination of these three factors is encapsulated in a Lean approach of giving people autonomy to solve their own work environment, constant training to perfect skills of problem solving and strategic planning, and a teach “why” instead of saying “do it because I say so” approach. You can watch the highly recommend video by Daniel pink:

How do you motivate your employees? Do you motivate without money?

Related posts:
Motivating Employees Without Money – The Psychology Of Behavior Change
Motivating Employees Without Money
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Friday Factoid – What Motivates Employees
My Take Tuesday – (Not So Lean) Medical Practice