Paths for freedom and progress
NOTICE ARCHIVE - 03/07/2019

Everyone has a price, the important thing is to find out what it is – quote Pablo Escobar. Typically this cynical view from a criminal mind is shared by a lot of other people,  addicted in money in a legal way. Unfortunately, a lot of CEO share this poor view.


If we do not pay high wages, we will not have any competent resources. No money, no honey. With monetary nourishment, the work will be better done. The question is : Why ?  Because it doesn't seem to be the case.


In 1949, the psychologist Harry Harlow made an experiment where monkeys had to solve a kind of mechanical puzzle. After a while they started play with the puzzles completely spontaneously, without any reward. They just seemed to think it was fun.


When Harlow then gave the monkeys raisins for each piece of loose puzzle, something strange happened. The outcome and interest declined. Twenty years later another psychologist named Edward Deci made a similar experiment with people and money instead of raisins. The results were similar. Those who were promised a few dollars if they managed to solve the puzzle showed soon less interest in the task than those who did it without getting a cent. This phenomenon has since been confirmed in a wide range of studies. Not only that the actions of both apes and humans are governed by more sophisticated factors than just the principle of carrot and whip, it also turns out that high rewards can have a direct negative effect on the results. Anyway, this is how the vast majority of compensation systems are designed. If you do this, you will get that.


In the book “Drive  -  on human motivation”, Daniel Pink argues with support in current research that the prevailing view of what drives people is hopelessly outdated. Instead, the bonus model can kill creativity, lead to short-term thinking and encourage unethical behavior. Independence and control over the situation, the desire to improve and master a task is prevailing the attitude that “we are only in it for the money”. According to Pink, most of today's reward models completely ignore this knowledge. It would be silly to pretend that money didn't matter. Or that it can't be okay to earn a lot. But even more silly when employers continue to fertilize with millions over uninspired or corrupt employees.


Money is a motivator at work, but once people perceive that they are paid fairly, then they become much more motivated by intrinsic elements. Once people are paid fairly, they look for more from their work.


A summary of Pink's key points on the three intrinsic elements of motivation is provided below.



According to Pink, autonomy is the desire to direct our own lives. Allowing employees autonomy runs counter to the traditional view of management which wants employees to "comply" with what is required of them.

However, if managers want employees to be more engaged in what they are doing (and they should - as tasks become more complicated) then allowing employees autonomy (self-direction is better). Pink provides some examples of what he means by autonomy, summarising them into four main aspects: time, technique, team and task
For example, some firms allow employees to have time at the workplace to do whatever they want. This freedom to spend time doing their own thing leads to many more innovative ideas and solutions. A good example is Google which has benefited from numerous product ideas as a result of allowing developers to pursue individual projects during work time.
The growth of flexible working practices is another good example of allowing staff more autonomy. For example, providing the technology and freedom to work from home.
A better teamwork can happen where the team members themselves pick the team!



Mastery can be described as the desire to continually improve at something that matters.
Humans love to "get better at stuff" - they enjoy the satisfaction from personal achievement and progress. Allowing employees to enjoy a sense of progress at work contributes to their inner drive.

By contrast, a lack of opportunity at work for self-improvement or personal and professional development is liable to make employees more bored and demotivated. A key implication for managers is to set tasks for employees that are neither too easy or excessively challenging. Pink calls such tasks "Goldilocks tasks) - ie. tasks that are not "too hot or too cold".
Goldilocks tasks push employees out of their comfort zones, and allow them to stretch themselves and develop their skills and experience further, respecting the limits of their affordable time and capacity.


Purpose can be described as the desire to do things in service of something larger than the self. People intrinsically want to do things that matter.
For example, entrepreneurs are often intrinsically motivated to "make a difference" rather than simply aiming for larger profit. Most of us spend more than half our working hours at work. We want that time to matter.
So a key part of adding purpose to work is to ensure that the mission and goals of the organisation are properly communicated to employees. Employees need to know and understand these, and appreciate how their work and role fits into what the organisation is about


Copyright 2018 - Thomas Nilsson - All rights reserved - info@thomasnilsson.com.br
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