Bringing an idea to its most powerful reality comes down to one thing: Building a team of the right caliber and motivation. “Drive” proposes a new model to develop that motivation and deliver far more than you can with strictly monetary rewards.

Author Daniel Pink knows his stuff. He’s a noted writer and researcher on the changes in the work environment brought on by the information age. He’s also the author of New York Times best seller “A Whole New Mind”.

Big ideas from “Drive”:

Businesses rely far too heavily on monetary motivation – For repetitive tasks (for example, sales), direct incentives are important , but for creative projects Motivation 3.0 (see below) drivers are important. They benefit all employees, creating passion and drive throughout the company.

Type X employees are extrinsically motivated, notes Pink. Money, for them, is a key driver and this type of worker often regards getting more for doing less work as a win. Type I employees are intrinsically motivated. Excelling in the work is the big reward. Pink details how to transition Type X staffers to Type I mode

Motivation 3.0 – This incentive program is basically made up of three values:

  • Autonomy – True ownership for your actions and outcomes requires control. This means giving employees time as a resource. They need to choose not only the task itself, but the ‘how’, ‘who with’ and ‘when’ they do it.  A great example is Google’s 20 percent autonomous time policy, where engineers are encouraged to invest time in projects they dream up themselves. This now accounts for half of Google’s new projects, including Google news and Gmail. 3M’s 15 percent autonomy program led to the Post-it note.
  • Mastery– If you enjoy what you do and it has a purpose, you will work to steadily improve. The key is the mindset that your abilities are not finite. You may never reach perfection but the joy of excelling from mastery while always reaching for the next rung is a powerful driver.
  • Purpose – People become passionate about what they do if it gives their lives meaning. They want to be part of something bigger than themselves, even defining themselves in the name of the cause. This is the most exciting area for growth in business. Purpose and profit are not mutually exclusive.

Toss the annual review to the curb – Managing Motivation 3.0 employees doesn’t involve an annual review process. Pink highlights examples of managers operating more like motivational coaches, meeting every six weeks to see how to support employees in realizing their goals and making sure that aligns with the organization’s objectives.

Applied knowledge

Drive” offers good news for entrepreneurs. By applying Motivation 3.0 to your startup, you can tap the energy required to make your vision a reality. If you already operate this way, the challenge becomes how to further enrich your businesses to achieve long-term lasting change while still meeting your short-term goals.

Today, I meet more and more founders who are defining their organization around a social purpose and mission. Sometimes they are integral to the business and sometimes they are tangential but still clearly voiced – like’s commitment to donate 1 percent of profits to charities.

This trend is just getting started.

At a glance:
TitleDrive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us
Authors: Daniel H. Pink
Publisher: Penguin Group
Length: 256 pages

Javier Rojas is a managing director leading U.S. investment activities for Kennet Partners.

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