Here’s a video I stumbled upon a couple of weeks ago. It’s a talk by Dan Pink with awesome art work and some interesting points. For one, it clarifies the notion that the carrot-and-stick approach only works for mechanical tasks. Include tasks that require even rudimentary cognitive skills and the rewards-and-punishment scheme just doesn’t work as well anymore. It also highlights what would be an effective use of money as a motivator: Pay people enough to take the issue of money off the table. This way they won’t be thinking about the money, they’ll be thinking about the work. The talk then moves on to discussing the three factors that science shows to lead to better performance and personal satisfaction: Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose.
The same guy had a very very similar TED talk (and it has an interactive transcript). A snippet from the said transcript (emphasis mine): “And the good news about all of this is that the scientists who’ve been studying motivation have given us this new approach. It’s an approach built much more around intrinsic motivation. Around the desire to do things because they matter, because we like it, because they’re interesting, because they are part of something important. And to my mind, that new operating system for our businesses revolves around three elements: autonomy, mastery and purpose. Autonomy, the urge to direct our own lives. Mastery, the desire to get better and better at something that matters. Purpose, the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves. These are the building blocks of an entirely new operating system for our businesses.”