Rethinking Motivation

dangling-the-carrot-xxlMost business leaders have lost sight of what motivates people at work. In fact, some companies haven’t updated their management practices in years, which means they’re incapable of creating high-performance teams.

Companies continue to ignore the obvious: Offering incentives and rewards is less effective than tapping into truly meaningful intrinsic motivation. Leaders operate on old assumptions about motivation despite a wealth of well-documented scientific evidence.

The old “carrot-and-stick” mentality may actually inhibit employees from seeking creative solutions, partly because they focus on attaining rewards instead of solving problems.

So, how can you successfully tap into workers’ inherent motivation and creative drive? How can you boost the number of actively engaged employees from the paltry 33 percent reported by the Gallup Organization? And how can you sustain employees’ enthusiasm after their first 30 days on the job?

In Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, former U.S. Department of Labor aide Daniel H. Pink says businesses are out of sync with what scientists have been telling us over the last 50 years.

The hackneyed carrot-and-stick approach, now dubbed “Motivation 2.0,” encourages poor leadership practices, including Pink’s “seven deadly flaws”:

  1. Extinguishing motivation
  2. Diminishing performance
  3. Crushing creativity
  4. Crowding out good behavior
  5. Encouraging cheating, shortcuts and unethical behavior
  6. Becoming addictive or obsessive
  7. Fostering short-term thinking

In fact, Pink holds Motivation 2.0 partly responsible for the economic chaos of 2008. Mortgage brokers, for instance, were so hungry for commissions that they made questionable loans, which helped bring the nation’s banking system to its knees.


This is a brief synopsis of a 2000 & 1000-word article suitable for consultants’ newsletters for executives and leaders in organizations. It is available for purchase with full reprint rights, which means you may put your name on it and use it in your newsletters, blogs or other marketing materials. You may also modify it and add your personal experiences and perspectives.

The complete 2,000 word article includes these important concepts:

  • Seven Deadly Flaws
  • The Hawthorne Studies
  • Scientific Management
  • Freud, Skinner & Maslow
  • The Third Drive
  • Negative Impact of Rewards
  • Open Source Innovations
  • Unleashing Motivation
  • Creating Flow
  • Rethinking Management
  • Rethinking Human Nature

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