Breaking Ground

February 8, 2010 Leave a comment

My colleagues and I went to see Daniel Pink when he came to speak in Cambridge. We had all read his book “A Whole New Mind- Why Right-Brainers Will Rule The Future,” and found that it gave us a framework and vocabulary to describe what we were finding in our work, which is that we are not only straddling era’s, we are straddling between the sides of our brains. We are discovering that in the work of social change most of the ideas, the data and the numbers are all available to solve many of our most intractable problems. What’s missing in our approach as outlined by Pink in “A Whole New Mind” resides in the right side of our brain: inventiveness; empathy; meaning and our capacity to design our way to wholeness.

He goes below the neck in his new book, “Drive – the Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” to what motivates this more right-brained thinker. He describes the gap between what science has known for decades and what leaders and managers of organizations are only now, slowly coming to realize.  He posits that rather than any carrot or stick or “if-then” system of rewards, our motivation is intrinsic and is based on three elements:  autonomy – the desire to direct our own lives; mastery – the urge to get better and better at something that matters and; purpose – the desire to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.

Daniel Pink is one of those gifted pioneers who goes into uncharted territory and develops maps and frameworks and then builds the necessary tools and then gives them to us so that we can make sense of our world.

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  • Cynthia Silva Parker says:

    Thanks for this, Marianne. I wonder what it would look like if our organizations and businesses — even our families — were organized in ways that maximized opportunities for autonomy, mastery and purpose. It challenges me as a colleague, a consultant, a neighbor, and a mom!!

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