Driving Employee Engagement – Dan Pink

Daniel Pink recently spoke at the REACH conference in the USA in August 2013. He shared some new and interesting insights into purpose and autonomy.

Link to ‘Driving Employee Engagement” video – exploring autonomy and accountability.

  • the piece on the power of autonomy starts at 8.49mins
  • His key points :
    • ‘Management’ is the technological problem that limits motivation and engagement
    • Management is a technological device for organising people into productive capacities – to get compliance, not engagement
    • If we strive for higher levels of engagement in the workplace we need a different ‘technology’ – and the technology for engagement is self-direction.
  • Leaders need to give people autonomy over their time, over their task, over their team and who they work with, and over their technique (how they do it)
  • The ‘best bosses’ set and communicate high standards for their people and then they allow autonomy
    • They assume people want to do good work and can be trusted! People want to do great things!
    • People are not ‘wired’ to be passive and enert! Rather it may be a learned behaviour that is the legacy of organisations and schools that have used the wrong technology to motivate/control people.
    • Some ‘managers’ might fear that their teams will take advantage of them ‘letting go’ – but rather setting clear, high expectations and getting out of people’s way, facilitates team members doing great things.
    • The fruit of autonomy is Accountability!

Link to ‘Purpose – Why we do what we do’ video – exploring purpose, contribution and making a difference. This video explores the difference between Big P and little P purpose :

  • Purpose with capital P – ‘I’m healing patients. I’m making the world a better place. (I left the organisation because I didn’t feel like I was making a difference.)
  • purpose with small p – helping people know why they are doing something in the first place! And why what they are doing matters to me and the people they work with. (I left because I didn’t feel I was making a contribution.)
  • Both the big P and the little P are very important motivators for people.