What motivates us? It’s not what you think!

Dan Pink has a great video out about what motivates us. Hint – it is not what you think!

In addition to being fun to watch (take my word for it), he shares really surprising research about what compels people to perform. An MIT study has demonstrated that, once you get beyond rudimentary cognitive skills, higher financial rewards actually result in LOWER performance!The video outlines three areas that do improve performance:

Autonomy. People have a desire to be self-directed; they want engagement. Providing flexibility, such as a day to do something creative or work on a problem that interests them, can lead to a lot of problem solving.

Mastery. We like to work at skills that we can improve. People (who have jobs) are willing to contribute to projects for free. Why? Because they are able to improve their skills.

Purpose. People are “animated by purpose.” We want to do something that makes a difference! People like to be self-directed and focus in an area that allows them to “make the world a better place.”

Be sure to watch the video for a more in-depth discussion. Dan offers a lot of food for thought for employers who want to help their employees achieve more. It may take less than you think to motivate a group to excel.

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photo by Katrina Snaps.

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