What motivates us

Performance, Reward and motivation. Studies show that:

  • As long as a task uses only mechanical skill, structured financial rewards work as expected i.e. higher rewards lead to greater performance
  • However, once a task calls for even rudimentary cognitive skills, larger incentives lead to poorer performance

Money is only a partial motivator at work. If you don’t pay enough people are not motivated. But the best use of money is to pay just enough to stop the lack thereof from being a blocker.

3 factors lead to better performance: Autonomy – Mastery – Purpose

Autonomy: Old style management is great if you want compliance, but if you want engagement self-direction is better.

Mastery: people just like getting better at things, and most people happily spend their spare time pursuing such activities through their hobbies.

Purpose: when the profit motive gets disconnected from the purpose motive poor behaviours emerge, and quality of service drops.

Organisations and people who flourish – have great purpose.


These are notes after watching an amazing talk by RSA Animate. See the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc&feature=related