The surprising truth about what motivates us:

Yesterday, Dan Pink, author of Drive, joined us for the latest Leadership Series Webinar.

Here are a few of the key takeaways from his presentation:

Motivation in terms of a metaphor from Dan Pink: Computer operating systems include instructions, protocols etc. The operating system runs in the background of the program. Society is similar and has an operating system in the background as well. But the “operating system” running in the background of our society is motivation.

Society was built purely on drive and motivation.

As society progressed, our motivation style changed as well.

1. Motivation 1.o - biological drive

2. Motivation 2.0 - drive to avoid punishment and seek rewards

What motivated people to do great work?

ONE BIG IDEA: if you want people to do relatively simple straight forward work, the classic kind of motivator we use in organizations is called and “IF THEN ” reward and they are most efficient – carrots and sticks. BUT scientists realized that they just don’t work very well for more creative complex and conceptual work. And now when we see carrot and stick motivators fail before our eyes, our instinct is to say “more carrots and sharper sticks!”

3. Motivation 3.o – built on the drive that human beings need to run their own lives

The key to high performance and satisfaction is intrinsic, internal motivation: the desire to follow your own interests and understand the benefits in them for yourself.

FACT: Money is a motivator – intrinsic motivation is better than extrinsic but money still matters. “You gotta pay people enough” and then bring the other motivators. Pink explains, “The best plan is to pay people enough to take the problem of money off the table.”

Once the right amount of money is figured out, giving public recognition can be a huge motivator.

He poses three key elements to creating “drive:”

Autonomy: Freedom (with responsibility) can be powerful. A flat organization is the key to freedom with responsibility. Allowing your team to work together where everyone feels their opinion is valued is important. Using Rypple we are able to work as a team on different tasks, but keep track of them all in our Rypple feed.

Mastery: We like to get better at stuff because we like to get better at stuff. It’s inherently satisfying – powerful human motivation. The only way to get better at “stuff” is by getting feedback. People like to know how they are doing and where they can improve so that mastery can be accomplished.

Purpose: People are looking for context. Most leaders think it’s about the HOW but people also want to know the WHY. Having bi-weekly or weekly 1:1′s with your team can allow you, as a manager, to explain the WHY and also allows the employee to ask questions and give feedback.

A purpose bigger than your product. – Mats Lederhausen

Check out the full recording below:


Alanah Throop


Alanah Throop is a student at the University of Toronto working towards a degree in Political Science and English. Alanah was previously a full time member of the Rypple Marketing team before returning to finish school last fall. Now, she is focusing on student life as well as a few part-time experiences including Rypple and a Children’s Program to help kids get the self-care skills they deserve.