This TED talk is a few years old, but if you haven’t seen it yet, and especially if you manage anyone (including yourself!), you need to. He presents a case for why the sweetest of carrots and the sharpest of sticks pale in comparison to intrinsic motivation. Here’s a sample:

“I spent the last couple of years looking at the science of human motivation, particularly the dynamics of extrinsic motivators and intrinsic motivators. And I’m telling you, it’s not even close. If you look at the science, there is a mismatch between what science knows and what business does.

“What’s alarming here is that our business operating system–think of the set of assumptions and protocols beneath our businesses, how we motivate people, how we apply our human resources–it’s built entirely around these extrinsic motivators, around carrots and sticks. That’s actually fine for many kinds of 20th century tasks. But for 21st century tasks, that mechanistic, reward-and-punishment approach doesn’t work, often doesn’t work, and often does harm. Let me show you.”


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