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Surprising Science of Motivation – watch the video

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I’ve been thinking about what motivates people to do the jobs of a knowledge worker.  When I talk to companies today, most of the concern they have around collaboration is about how to empower knowledge workers.  Most knowledge workers jobs have changed.  They need to focus less on the repeatable tasks and more on the ad hoc tasks.  We have all seen it.  A computer automates the dreary data entry and you now can do more. Sales people should be able to sell more.   People in the back office can now focus on making a key presentation better rather than printing 5,000 copies and shipping it across the states. There are plenty of examples.
There are also plenty of examples where people who are asked to do that ad hoc tasks flail and flounder.   As I said, I’ve been thinking about how to encourage collaboration.  Most of my thought has to do with the tools for collaboration you see in Jive, Connections, Telligent, and Sharepoint.  However, I recently watched a video from TEDtalks by Daniel Pink who wrote a book called Drive.  He also wrote one of my favorite books called Free Agent Nation.  In the video he notes a disparity between the outcomes for people

“As long at the task involved mechanical skill, bonuses worked as they would be expected: the higher the pay, the better the performance.  But once the task called for ‘even rudimentary cognitive skill’ a larger reward led to poorer performance”

The research Dan Pink calls on suggest that our entire approach to motivation for creative tasks is wrong.  He suggest that Attlassian and Google with their free time to work on your own tasks results in much better outcomes.    It suggests that those of us pushing social networking and best practices need to take into account what really motivates people when we institute these types of tools.
Anyway, watch the video or buy the book  for a deeper dive into the topic.

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Michael Porter

Mike Porter leads the Strategic Advisors team for Perficient. He has more than 21 years of experience helping organizations with technology and digital transformation, specifically around solving business problems related to CRM and data.

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