He talks about how the traditional ‘carrot and stick’ incentives don’t work for any task that requires even rudimentary cognitive or creative skills. If the task is purely mechanical then the carrot and stick incentive scheme will work.
He goes on to talk about what does work for cognitive jobs and tasks – basically you have to treat people like people which means that they are driven by 3 basic drivers or needs:
- A desire for autonomy i.e. to be self-directed
- A desire for mastery i.e. to be making progress in their job
- A desire for purpose i.e. to be part of something larger than ourselves.
I can totally relate to this because this is partly why I left banking in 2001.
- we lost a good deal of autonomy at branch level when computerisation enabled Head Office to monitor precisely what we were doing and started to interfere in everything we were doing at branch level. Yes there are risks with autonomy but on the whole I think the majority of us had much greater job satisfaction when we could say that these were the results we created without Head Office looking over our shoulders all the time and constantly raining a shower of rules and regulations down upon us. They wanted staff compliance and thereby they lost staff engagement.
- the job changed from having a mastery of risk management and customer service to wanting us to master sales and achievement of sales targets – these two skills are to some extent conflicting with each other because there were many occasions that it would have been better to walk away from a transaction but staff were driven forward to do things that weren’t good business by the need to achieve a sales target.
- and I do believe that we lost a sense of purpose. My purpose was always to help my customers to become better and bigger businesses that served the community over the long term. I didn’t share the new purpose of maximising short term profits by selling banking services. I simply couldn’t get on board with a purpose that didn’t align with my own and hence I decided to leave because it simply became too stressful to buck the system.
I now compare my banking job with internet marketing:
- I am totally self-directed with the freedom to choose my own business model and strategy and to acquire new skills in areas that interest me.
- I love the challenge of trying to master internet marketing which, whilst simple at one level, is also a highly complex area where the sands are constantly shifting through the shear creativity of our online marketing community.
- and my purpose is to help my customers to make money online by serving and improving the lives of other people through the provision of information, training and software and thereby to provide for our families. (It is very important to articulate your purpose clearly if you want other people to be energised and inspired by that purpose.)
The video below is good use of 40 minutes of your time as it will make you think about how you motivate yourself and other people in future. This is just one of the 325 videos that is part of the upsell package to Productivity Made Simple which we are launching on 22nd September 2014 for a surprisingly low price.