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Harvard Business Review on what really motivates workers 02/01/2010

Posted by Aykut ARIKAN in Uncategorized.

From Dan Pink:
Harvard Business Review on what really motivates workers:

Harvard professor Teresa Amabile, whose transformative work I describe in Drive, has a fascinating piece in the (newly revamped) Harvard Business Review, which is just hitting newsstands.
Amabile tracked the day-to-day activities and motivations of several hundred workers over a few years and found that their greatest motivation isn’t external incentives, but something different: Making progress (or what Drive calls “mastery” — the urge to get better and better at something that matters.)
Read the whole article, which is part of HBR’s “10 Breakthrough Ideas for 2010.” But here are some key quotes:

  • “A close analysis of nearly 12,000 diary entries, together with the writers’ daily ratings of their motivation and emotions, shows that making progress in one’s work — even incremental progress — is more frequently associated with positive emotions and high motivation than any other workday event.” (Note: This the idea behind the “Keep Asking the Small Question” exercise on page 155 of Drive.)
  • “The key to motivation . . . doesn’t depend on elaborate incentive systems. In fact, the people in our study rarely mentioned incentives in their diaries.”
  • “On days when workers have the sense they’re making headway in their jobs, or when they receive support that helps them overcome obstacles, their emotions are most positive and their drive to succeed is at its peak.”
  • “As for recognition, the diaries revealed that it does indeed motivate workers and lift their moods. So managers should celebrate progress, even the incremental sort. But there will be nothing to recognize if people aren’t genuinely moving forward, and as a practical matter, recognition can’t happen every day.” (Note: Exactly. Drive spends a lot of time talking about “Now that” rewards and why they’re far less dangerous than contingent incentives. Also, recognition is a form of feedback, which is essential to achieving mastery.)


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