Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose



When it comes to motivation business is behind science. The carrot and stick approach (or “if then” and short term rewards) are still prevalent throughout business, and society in general. Science has found that works well when tasks are routine, repetitive, and the work is low in intrinsic motivational factors. But today where adaptability, change, and creativity are required by vast numbers of “knowledge workers” that approach falls way short of optimal.

Rewards do motivate, they motivate people to get the reward.

Most rewards in business today center on short term single focus objectives for which long term goals may be put on the back burner in order to “make the numbers”. Fuzzy logic in the general ledger, quality short cuts, regulations disregarded, fudged research are all real world examples of this.

Daniel Pink in his book “Drive” states that “Carrots and sticks are so last century, for 21st century work we need to upgrade to autonomy, mastery and purpose.”

  • Autonomy: The desire to direct our own lives.
  • Mastery: The inherent urge to get better at something that matters.
  • Purpose: The yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.

Today's most productive business owners, entrepreneurs and employees want to decide what they will do, when they will do it, with whom and how.

The pursuit of mastery has become essential in making one's own way in the economy. Attaining mastery requires effort, stamina, a strong desire, and persistence. If there is enjoyment for you in obtaining mastery (as in intrinsic motivation) and you are able to “Get in the Flow” you will greatly increase your chances of success.

Humans have long sought a purpose higher than our day to day needs. A reason for existence, a reason that goes beyond just getting through the day or the week. We've all felt that satisfying feeling when we've helped another, when we have done good by our highest standards. When profit maximization and purpose maximization exist together quantum leaps in productivity, performance, satisfaction, and employee and customer retention will be seen.

Some organizations have been able to put those principles into practice, currently they are few and far between, but their numbers are growing.

I'd be happy to talk with you and discuss how you can implement more autonomy, mastery, and purpose into your business. Free 30 minute strategy session. There are action steps and processes you could implement right now to get moving in the right direction.

Daniel Pink Blog http://www.danpink.com/

Further Reading: worker autonomy can lead to greater productivity satisfaction

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