Working Hard... Why do we do it?

Money doesn't grow on trees, but does hard work grow from monetary incentives? Popular belief has us believing yes! The harder you are expected to work, the more money you are offered in exchange. Right? Well, Dan Pink and several researchers say the answer is no. Shocking, I know, considering the disproportionate work-for-reward model we are so familiar with today where ‘work’ is about how much you make rather than what you make. Dan Pink, author of DRIVE and avid business blogger, exists to combat this kind of thinking - a way of thinking, he claims, that social scientists are used to but managers are not. In a recent talk he gave to the RSA Dan Pink explains several studies which indicate jobs that require even the slightest bit of cognitive involvement and skill from the people doing them are more self-rewarding than anything else. A job, or a task, where a person is encouraged to think outside the box, where they are given the license to do so, is not done or done better when a high pay-out is the light at the end of the tunnel; completing the task, getting the job done, finding the creative solution...THAT is the reward in and of itself. Dan Pink’s three essential ingredients for a job well done are autonomy, mastery, and purpose, not money at all. So how do you structure a business around this idea? Well, Pink gave a few well-known examples (ie: Linux, Steve Jobs), all very successful. But where is the stampede? If Pink just gave managers everywhere the keys to the secret gardens of productivity and profitability why aren’t we all at the locksmith making copies?