By Dale Beck
Whether climbing the ladder or maintaining your place at the top, today’s world presents an ever-changing set of challenges far different than those our predecessors experienced. The average worker wants to be a part of the creative process; the CEO cannot use management styles of the past if he wants his organization to reach its potential. Meanwhile for the executive, while success can be within arm’s reach, so are the forces that can topple even the most successful.
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
By Daniel H. Pink
Bestselling author Daniel H. Pink (A Whole New Mind) sets forth the best path for self-motivation, high performance, and creativity for today’s worker. The driving force, he says, comes not from external forces, but from within.
In “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,” Pink explains that motivation is best served from within. And while the carrot-and-stick method has been around for at least a couple of millennium, there’s little that can replace the internal forces of wanting to finish a job the right way and with a pursuit of excellence. Terming it “Motivation 3.0,” he explains that the tried-and-true method of punishing the bad and rewarding the good comes with all kinds of collateral damage and doesn’t fit today’s worker, who is moving away from regimentation. Men and women want to be able to make choices and be self-directed. In essence, they want to be engaged with a project.
Using a key example, Pink offers The Big Picture Learning High School in Rhode Island where the kids’ interest dictates the curriculum. While most of the students come from disadvantaged backgrounds, because they have a vested interest in the subjects taught, they’ve been outperforming their peers on standardized tests. Why not? With deepened interest, they read and research more. The result: They learn more.
In the business world, that translates to giving up control over the process and the outcome by trusting your employees to follow guidelines and find their own result. As Pink explains, most managers don’t want goals forced upon them; why should employees be any different?
One tool Pink suggests is, instead of using words such as “must” or “should,” try “think about” or “consider.” It will promote engagement and even reduce defiance.
Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don’t
By Jeffrey Pfeffer
In “Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don’t,” Stanford professor Jeffrey Pfeffer explains how to get, use, and keep it. Considered one of the great minds in management theory, Pfeffer explores what makes some people more successful than others, reporting that those who believe life is fair (subscribers to the “just world phenomenon”) are those most likely unprepared for the challenges and competition of the real world.
It’s an unfortunate reality that in most cases, power isn’t won with hard work but rather through finely honed reputations. Speaking to top executives, he reminds them that they once were driven by a belief they could do the job better and asks how many not too far below are being driven by the same thoughts and ambitions and won’t stop until the job is theirs?
With 30 years of teaching experience in front of MBA students and decades of consulting with corporations and the people who run them, Pfeffer is well-suited to pen this book. Using examples from numerous countries, he argues that power is a force that can be used to promote individuals as well as organizations. In this book, he clearly explains how.