I was in a mood to write something in depth, and hopefully somethng that can put a dent in the universe. ^_^ Not kidding. This is my first of my modern day enlightenment series.
Is Money Your Motivator?
Workplace motivation is a little more tricky than you have thought.
By Darwin Zialcita
Our motivations are surprisingly fascinating. Money drives us, like the usual notion that reward is equal to work and vice versa. Money is a power that controls many lives. Actually there are several different schools of thought about that — that the bigger the reward is, you get more of that certain behaviour that you want from that person; on the other hand, when you punish, you get less of that behaviour you want. This is the traditional motivation that big organizations used to do, and majority still do today.
The 21st century human being can not be easily manipulated as we think anymore. The typical motivation is that we reward the best and we give only little to the least excelling workers. However, we also observe a reality that once a more rudimentary work is given; a larger reward will usually result to a poorer performance. Why is that? This isn’t actually surprising. In a world where higher incentives are given, output work quality does not get generally better, incentives just make the worker be satisfied and not work more. More bacon to take home is naturally one’s purpose.
Thus — the solution is simple, for simple straightforward tasks; you get this if you do this; I give you that if you do that. The best work is done on a per project motivation, because we are looking for a balance of effectively and efficiency. This principle works on a rudimentary cognitive skill. But when the task gets more complicated, requires more talent, creativity and thinking, there is a whole new world beyond rewarding.
So what drives creative people? Money is a strong motivator, but it is actually good to take the “thought of money” off the desk. In this way, they get to think more about their project. This is pure creative work driven by results. Three things actually lead to better work performance: autonomy, mastery and purpose.
Autonomy is the desire to run our own lives. Because employees have dreams of their own, it is not expected that they want to be told what to for their whole life. What organizations want is to be engaged, but self direction is better. It would turn out that, one day of full autonomy of employees would lead to great innovations and ideas, that weren’t otherwise thought of before in 3 years.
The simple reason is that people today are not simply driven by “innovation bonus” but really wanted to do something different, something noble. There should really be days that the boss says “I feel that you want to do something interesting, so today let me get out of your way”. That ‘free’ day of work results to ideas that have never emerged before, imagine if it was a bigger team on a free day, the result could be fascinating. That is what you call toilet seat innovation. Like the old saying goes: “great ideas are thought of while in the toilet seat”.
If 30 years ago, you tell me you would gather all the bright minds in the world and collaborate on a single innovative product… I say it’s gonna be magical! But then, tell me that we are giving that product away for free; I am going to tell you that you are insane! However, look at today, we are dominated by very powerful products that are created by great minds which are actually free to use, such as Linux, Wikipedia, freeware, 9gag, Facebook, open source software, and cloud internet servers — these are all free to use.
But what are these people doing? People, who are highly paid and have better jobs, do sophisticated skilled tasks, and yet during their tiny break time, do even equally or even more technically sophisticated work, not for their boss, but for someone else — for free! What a strange economic behaviour, but this is it. The challenge and mastery along with contribution leads to the world’s advancements in innovation.
When the profit motive becomes the ultimate purpose, things just get downhill; it happens that we want more and more. It never ends. Good thing is that more and more organizations are realizing this. The reason is that, more and more people believe in destiny, a purpose in their existence. Not lust “live to work and work to live”. Creative people believe that there is more to it than money, like learning the guitar, being a great guitarist, perfection of your talent, or by meeting your true love. We are actually driven by goals, purpose, eternal desires.
People actually need money not to become rich, but to make life easier. Easier for us to do the things we are destined to do. Like help to poor, build a space shuttle or meet the Creator. The poor become poorer, because the desperate mind has no time to think of creativity and innovation; but rather, a desperate mind is more preoccupied of thinking of what to feed their family tonight.
Companies that prosper are companies that know their purpose and are driven by it. Skype’s goal is to “make the world a better place”, Steve Jobs wanted to “put a dent in the universe”. That is what gets us up in the morning and go to work, that is what should drive us. Ultimate purpose, and for me, is to meet God, make may stay in this planet worthwhile and encourage other people too. We only need money to make our lives seamless, so that we can easily do the things that we really want. If we cared a more about our mastery in this God-given talent, self direction, and encouraging one another, and then we have a promise to make the world a better place.