Why Money Doesn’t Motivate Higher Performance

This is a really attractive video from RSA Animate.

If you have 11 minutes to spare, do look at it. It’s actually based on a fascinating lecture by Dan Pink about The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. What RSA Animate had done was to incorporate an artist animating the talk on a giant whiteboard in real-time. You would be captivated by the beautiful illustrations as the artist draws every concept, as Dan Pink speaks.

Dan Pink’s take on this subject is that while money helped to motivate higher performance for tasks requiring mechanical skill, this did not work for tasks that required even rudimentary cognitive skill.  He argued that there was a negative correlation between greater monetary reward and increased performance. So for those jobs that require a lot of creativity like those in the arts, the technology industries, etc. . . you may want to consider very carefully how you can motivate and empower your team.

Pink also touched upon three factors that lead to better performance and personal satisfaction –  autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose.

Hmm . . . doesn’t this relate to achieving personal mastery for the individual? What does it mean for the leadership corp? What does it mean for the team as a whole?

It is however important to note that for most people, only by first fulfilling one’s basic needs, would the individual move to things in the higher order.

Ultimately, Pink makes a rather convincing case that as leaders, managers and entrepreneurs, we need to get past the ideology of using carrots and sticks to motivate people.


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