Posts tagged ‘motivation’

Dan Pink on Management

I had the opportunity today to see Daniel Pink speak at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. It was a very good presentation. Although he stuck pretty closely to the material in his books, he’s a very engaging and entertaining speaker. 

One of the things he said today that I loved is that (paraphrasing here) management is the perfect technology if all you want is compliance, but if you’re going for engagement, self-direction is required. I like the idea of management as a technology (Pink credited that idea to someone else – I’ll have to look up the name); when you think of it that way, it’s easier to identify potential uses and mis-uses.

In Drive he talks about autonomy, mastery and purpose being the roots of intrinsic motivation. Of the three, autonomy seems like the biggest challenge in a government organization like a public library. There’s an ingrained culture, plus laws and union rules that govern what we do and how we do it. Some of the ideas Pink discusses in his books (like the Results Only Work Environment) aren’t practicable in this setting. I don’t think it’s impossible, I just think it requires a little extra creativity to find ways to give people genuine autonomy over their work in this kind of organization. It’s an interesting problem, and one I’m sure I’ll be chewing on for a long time…

March 15, 2010 at 9:20 pm 2 comments

Needing a little inspiration

I’ve been feeling a little out of balance lately. When things get particularly hectic I find myself scrambling just to get to the basic necessities and some of the things I’d really like to be focusing on fall by the wayside. I’ve had a lot of stuff building up in my “to read” pile, for instance, and that reading is my primary source for the thought that goes into this blog. It’s also one of the main things that helps me come up with creative ideas and solutions at work. I can maintain for awhile without it, but if I go too long everything else starts to suffer as well. I’m really feeling the need to carve out a little more time.

One of the books I’ve been trying to finish is Drive, by Dan Pink. Appropriately, it’s about motivation. I read a little on my break today and came up with two good quotes that were exactly what  I needed. The first is from Carol Dweck:

Effort is one of the things that gives meaning to life. Effort means you care about something, that something is important to you and you are willing to work for it. It would be an impoverished existence if you were not willing to value things and commit yourself to working toward them.

And here’s some wisdom from Dr. J:

Being a professional is doing the things you love to do, on the days you don’t feel like doing them.

I love that one!

March 8, 2010 at 9:35 pm

Corporate Culture and Motivation

I came across a couple of things today that really got me thinking. First is a slide deck that Netflix uses to help new employees grasp the company culture. I work in a government organization (public library) and not everything in this presentation is applicable to that environment (e.g. the way they handle compensation), but there are so many good ideas and practices here. Allow some time – it’s a long one:

I like the values they list. I like the emphasis on Freedom & Responsibility and the way they organize their company around that. I”ll be going back to this one multiple times, I’m sure, as there’s a lot to chew on. [via Black Coffee]

The other thing is this TED talk by Dan Pink.

I really enjoyed Pink’s book The Adventures of Johnny Bunko, and I’m nearly done with A Whole New Mind, which is also fantastic. He’s got a book on motivation, Drive, coming out in December. This talk keys off of some of the ideas from his new book, and it’s actually really good news for organizations like libraries that don’t have the ability/budgets to use traditional incentives (bonuses, etc.), and for companies that used to have the budgets but don’t anymore. Guess what? Those incentives don’t work! The alternatives  would require a major cultural shift for most libraries, but they are at least in the realm of possibility. Again, not all the examples are workable (you can’t eliminate schedules when you serve the public), but there’s enough to start some great discussions. Watch the talk – it’s 18 minutes long, but Pink is an engaging speaker and well worth a listen. Let me know what you think.

August 27, 2009 at 9:40 pm


"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong." - Pearce

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