Category Archives: management/organization structure

Money Isn’t Everything

Keep your cash. A lot of people my age would rather swim in a Scrooge McDuck-sized pool of our own passion. It’s a fact many of us have worn on our sleeve: just give us the facilities and opportunities we want, and you’ll never have seen such a cheerful, hard-working person in your life.

According to Dan Pink, TED Conference Speaker and author of the book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, this is not just a Gen-Y attitude, but something much more fundamental to human motivation as a whole.

Watch the video below for the full description of Pink’s theory. Since it’s more about the journey, I have no qualms ruining the ending for you: In a society where complicated tasks now require more conceptual, creative thinking, money does not motivate better results. In fact, if you want to produce more innovative thinking in your employees, you’re better off focusing less on promises of a higher salary and more on providing them control over their passion.

So money is a bad motivator for the kind of work many of us do today. If you promise me a higher salary, it won’t always equal greater work. But Dan phrased something about initial salary very well in his video: “If you don’t pay enough, people won’t be motivated…The best use of money as a motivator is to pay people enough to take the issue of money off the table. Pay people enough so they’re not thinking about money; they’re thinking about the work.

Makes sense, right? It’s as basic as when you first learned Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. If I’m worried about how I’m going to keep a roof over my head or pay for groceries, then work isn’t my greatest concern in life, is it? Instead, I would be more focused on getting more money from the job than being motivated to do the kind of quality work that earns more money for everyone.

After watching Dan’s video, how does your organization structure compare? Do you see potential weak points where you’re paying people less for mechanical tasks where they would be motivated with the promise of more pay? Do you see opportunities in areas of creative thinking where you could be giving people the “innovation bonus”? What ideas does this talk spark for you? Let’s start sharing those ideas and produce for each other better work and better lives.


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