Many years ago, I read “Drive” by Daniel Pink, and it’s still one of the few books that I remember vividly. In this book, Pink explores the main factors that drive motivation in high performers, and he identifies three essential components: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
According to Pink, people are intrinsically motivated when they are given the freedom to pursue their goals, the opportunity to develop mastery in their chosen field, and the sense that they are contributing to a greater cause beyond themselves. In other words, people are motivated by the desire to be self-directed, to improve their skills, and to make a meaningful difference in the world.
As a leader, it’s essential to understand these drivers of intrinsic motivation and create an environment that supports them. If you’re constantly micromanaging your team, you’re not giving them the autonomy they need to thrive. On the other hand, if you empower your team to take ownership of their work, set their own goals, and pursue mastery in their field, you’ll see a significant increase in their motivation and performance.
Additionally, it’s important to communicate a clear sense of purpose and meaning to your team. When you clearly communicate your mission and vision to your team, they’re more likely to feel invested in their work and motivated to contribute to its success.
In my last company, our purpose was something like this:
We exist to provide high-tech solutions with high-touch service, adding humanness and meaning into the business and technology process.
Not only was this motivating for our team, but when we would meet with potential clients and talk with them about our purpose, they would get excited as well.
If you can find ways to support your people in their autonomy, allow them space to master their discipline, and cast a clear vision and purpose, you’ll be able to attract and retain high performers who are truly invested in their work.