Daniel Pink summarizes an insightful article in the latest HBR on what really motivates workers.
Here is the main idea, which is interesting because it goes beyond simply saying that intrinsic motivation surpasses external motivation:
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.)
So a key motivator is making progress. Good insight. Pink gives some more helpful quotes from the article in his post as well.
The article is a part of HBR’s “10 Breakthrough Ideas for 2010,” and I think you can obtain (purchase–sorry) it here.
I’m looking forward to reading Guy Sorman’s new book Economics Does Not Lie: A Defense of the Free Market in a Time of Crisis. Here is the summary from the inside jacket, which is a really good education in itself:
In an economic crisis, it would be fatal to forget everything we know about economics. Though cyclical downturns do occur in the free market — they are due to uncontrolled innovation — this is a defect in the system, not a failure of it. To abandon the free market because it is imperfect would be a dangerous overreaction. After all, state intervention is imperfect, as is human nature itself.
During the current crisis, it’s crucial to recall the unprecedented benefits that free markets have brought to global economics. Since the public sector gave ground to market capitalism, beginning in the early 80s, the results have been breathtaking. The opening of economic borders and the promotion of free trade in Europe after 1990 contributed to the reconstruction of Eastern Europe and lifted 800 million people out of poverty across the globe.
In Economics Does Not Lie, Guy Sorman shows that behind this unprecedented growth is not only the collapse of state socialism but also a scientific revolution in economics, as yet dimly understood by the public but increasingly embraced by policymakers around the globe. He reminds us that bad economic policies ravaged entire nations during the twentieth century, producing more victims than any epidemic did. Any attempt to return to those obsolete policies would bring chaos and poverty. The way out of the current crisis is to restore trust in the free-market society and the policies that have provided economic recovery over the last thirty years.