Some Notes on Drive

by Tara Agacayak on January 13, 2010

The world changes conversation by conversation. – Daniel Pink

Last night I was lucky to catch the interview between Elizabeth Marshall and Daniel Pink on Author Teleseminars.  They were discussing his new book, Drive. Originally I thought I would tweet some of my notes, but later I decided I’d list them here so I can come back to them later.

The main topic of the conversation was motivation and how it varies depending on the type of task. The reason we should care about motivation for right-brain type tasks is that the way we motivate and reward these tasks is different than for left-brain type tasks.

Here are some of my notes:

  • Our basic nature is to be self-directed.
  • The best way to motivate people is to offer them autonomy and then support their needs.
  • Autonomy produces innovation.
  • Mastery is an important human need.
  • We like to get better at things (which is why the open source movement is booming).
  • We like to be challenged and see how we are making progress.


For solopreneurs, the idea of Do-It-Yourself performance reviews is compelling:

  • Set out your goals for the month
  • At the end of the month, ask yourself how you’re doing
  • Or gather with a group of colleagues or peers and ask them to help you rate yourself on your self-defined goals

To encourage innovation, have a “FedEx Day” (because of the quick turn-around)

  • Stop whatever you’re doing
  • Work on a completely new and possibly unrelated task
  • See what kinds of problems you end up solving
  • Convene with a group of peers to review what you’ve accomplished

Learning goals produce more effective outcomes than Performance goals

  • A Performance goal = getting an A in French
  • A Learning goal = speaking French fluently

As humans we seek to relate, connect and create impact; we want to be part of something larger.

  • Look at the Low Profit LLC examples (Tom’s Shoes) – combining social responsibility with for-profit business model.
  • What’s the one sentence (aka mission statement; aka mission) that guides what you do?
  • Mine is “Challenge creative entrepreneurs.”
  • Make a difference
  • Live life with purpose and meaning.

Ask yourself the question: Am I better today than I was yesterday?

  • Chances are you don’t say no two days in a row.

Consider peer-based “Now That” awards.

  • Feedback helps you get better at stuff.
  • Now That a task is completed, your peers are authorized to reward a job well done.
  • Consider the results-only work environment…

When I studied psychology in college, what interested me most was motivation and behavior – why people do the things they do. I really enjoy the way Daniel Pink applies these concepts to business and look forward to reading Drive.


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