Wednesday, April 25, 2012

More on Motivation

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Have you seen the animated video called Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us? If not, you should check it out now. The video is a summary of a book by the same name by Daniel H. Pink. His thoroughly researched thesis is that extrinsic motivators (the proverbial carrot and stick) are not effective when applied to jobs requiring intelligence and creativity - jobs like software development. Pink proposes that intrinsic motivators are much more effective in these instances, and he identifies three - autonomy, mastery and purpose.

There was a big "a-ha" moment when I first encountered this idea. Looking back over a long career in software, it is plain to me that the most ineffective managers have been those who relied most strongly on an authoritarian "punishments and rewards" approach. The same experience suggests that Pink's three intrinsic motivators are spot-on with regards to software developers.

I've previously discussed the idea of purpose at work. In future posts I'll examine autonomy and mastery, and how these ideas can be applied to create a great environment for software development.


David Pinn said...

This week is Innovation Week for the Stash development team at Atlassian. There's no big-money prize at the end of the week, just the opportunity to let fly with an idea, direct ourselves, and attempt to demonstrate our mastery. We're having fun, and the product gets some awesome new features. Everybody wins.

Craig Schwarze said...

Brilliant - excactly how it should be done

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