Book review: Drive

Emma de Vita reviews the new book by Daniel H Pink

Off the Shelf
Off the Shelf

The subtitle of Daniel H Pink's book is "the surprising truth about what motivates us"; and understanding what makes people do things is a key requirement of every manager.

Drive by Daniel H PinkPink, a business journalist and speechwriter for the former US vice-president Al Gore, argues that our current "carrot-and-stick" approach to management is outdated and needs an upgrade. He proposes a scientifically founded new way that comprises three essential elements.

First, give people autonomy. This means let them have a larger say in what they do, when they do it, how they do it and with whom they do it. Second, allow them to achieve mastery over what they do. Why? Because if people really want to get better at something, they are more likely to be engaged with what they do. And if they are more engaged, they are likely to perform better. Finally, to motivate your staff you must give them a purpose - that is "a cause greater and more enduring than themselves". Here, working for a charity, you have an advantage.

Follow these steps and you will not only help to strengthen your organisation, but also elevate the lives of your colleagues and - by extension - improve the world. What more could you hope to achieve?

Emma De Vita is books editor of Management Today

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