AMP-lify your results

Recently, I was pointed twice* to a TED talk by Dan Pink on the science of motivation.

The video is only 20 mins long with some great insights, so well worth the time to watch.

In summary, Pink talks about how in the modern information age, much of our work is based on right brain creativity to find new solutions, rather than repetitive tasks with well defined boundaries. In such a solution-seeking environment, traditional carrot and stick based incentives work poorly. People are much more motivated, and perform much better if they have:

  • Autonomy – freedom to work as they want to
  • Mastery – build expertise over time
  • Purpose – work on something that matters

Cynics could of course say this leads to people goofing off, doing what they want when they want and not getting anything done. In fact, the reverse is true. If people are engaged in right brain creativity areas, and working on what matters to them, results can far exceed those from carrot and stick incentives.

It’s the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivations.

Examples include Google’s now famous 20 percent time for engineers to spend on anything not related to their day job. This has been the source of around half of Google’s new products (including Gmail and Google News). Wikipedia is another example where such intrinsic motivations have vastly has outperformed the well-funded Encarta motivated by more traditional incentives.

Pink points to an even more focused approach called ROWE. This stands for Results Only Work Environment – where workers are given the freedom to perform their jobs how, when and where they want to, with no schedules (other than deadlines) – so long as they get the job done. (This has particular resonance with me since its largely how I run my medtech advisory business, investments and blogs). ROWE approaches in companies have shown increased productivity, increased worker engagement, increased worked satisfaction and reduced employee turnover.

AMP-lify is just the mnemonic I made up to help me remember the key points. I still use it as a reference point – sometimes you get busy in the day-to-day and have to come up for air to remind yourself why you’re doing what you do. It’s also a big part of the reason I recently started kaizen investor.

Are you working to your best AMP?

By Raman Minhas.

*From my good friend Parmdeep Vadesha, and again via a blog post about 20 lessons from Warren Buffett, by Scott Dinsmore.

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