A few months ago, I read Dan Pink’s book “A Whole New Mind”, which talks about the evolution of our culture from a left-brained, analytical workforce to a right-brained, creative society. In “Drive”, Pink shifts the conversation to motivation, and specifically, how to more effective motivate others (and yourself) in a post-modern society.
The evolution of motivation, according to Pink, follows this model:
Motivation 1.0 – People work to live (the Agrarian Age)
Motivation 2.0 – People work for money (the Industrial Age)
Motivation 3.0 – People work for meaning (the Creative Age)
Pink argues that for all the creature comforts and prosperity that exists in our world, even after the Great Recession, the next great motivational force in the world is not food or money, but meaning. And employers (and independent contractors) who incorporate meaning into their professional lives will better connect with people and create more long-term sustainability than those who simply use a “carrot and stick” approach to make people perform tasks.
One of my personal, written goals for 2012 is to devote four full days – one per quarter – to charitable and philanthropic efforts. My daughter, Victoria, and I served meals to the homeless in Denver a few weeks ago, and we’ll be working with kids in the foster care system at the end of April. The point is, for more and more people, mission and purpose are just as important as productivity and achievement.
In “Drive”, Dan Pink argues that meaning is the next great revolution, and by creating an environment where significance is as important as sustenance, we can build more sustainable families, businesses and communities.