I have now studied this book — and I hope it will speak to the government market in a few ways.
First — from a capital management perspective, Obama administration and the Office of Personnel Management under director John Berry has been looking at reforming the government’s HR systems. Meanwhile, we have seen scores of stories about pay systems like the Defense Department’s now defunct National Security Personnel System, which sought to build a pay-for-performance kind of system. I think this book offers some unique insights about the issues surround those topics.
Second, and perhaps more important, Drive really has to do with change. We talk about it all the time — culture change. What motivates people to change how they do what they do? How do you encourage them to get away from the, ‘That’s not the way we do business here.’ The book is about what motivates people to make those changes.
Essentially, the book says that it is time for a new way of looking at motivation. In fact, he argues that most of what we know about motivation just isn’t based on fact or data.
Drive notes that Motivation 1.0 was about survival — you had to kill the lion to eat, and that proved to be a real motivator. Motivation 2.0 was about carrots and sticks, and it worked well for industrial age functions, but he argues that in the information age, it is time for… Motivation 3.0… it is more about purpose, mastery and autonomy.
We always look at motivation in terms of carrots and sticks. But Pink argues that the data simply doesn’t back that up. In fact, he says that those kinds of motivators can actually be demotivating.
One of the issues we’ll discuss is the pay issue, because Pink passes over that topic a bit too quickly for my liking. He argues that pay needs to be fair and adequate — people need to be able to survive and thrive — but if that is equalized, it isn’t really about money.