April 12, 2011
I attended the final day of the annual ASNE (American Society of News Editors) conference, held last weekend in San Diego. Sure, there was a continental breakfast, but the croissants weren’t the main draw. Bestselling author Daniel Pink was a key speaker. A former speechwriter for Al Gore, his own presentation skills were impressive as he shared wisdom from his new book “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.”
Pink suggested true motivation is ignited by autonomy, mastery and purpose. As long as people are paid enough to be comfortable, these three elements will lead to greater outcomes. I began thinking back to my days as a psychology student. My industrial-organizational psychology professor used to say autonomy was key to job satisfaction. It resonated as a student, but now, as a business owner, I’ve validated it in practice. I often work long hours, but I wouldn’t trade my autonomy for shorter days or less responsibility.
When Pink said the secret to high performance and satisfaction is “the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world,” I thought, “That’s it. That’s why I do what I do. And I see that same motivation in my clients.”