Growth Insights for CEOs

DRIVE: What Motivates Millennials?

Posted by The Chief Outsider



Recently, I spent a week working on a project about 90 minutes away and decided to make my commuting time "profitable" be listening to an audio book. Since I was driving, I chose "Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us" by Daniel Pink. It was an inspired choice. It is especially relevant to those of us who work with today’s “Millennial” generation and since, in addition to my work as a Chief Outsider, I also teach an undergraduate course at Rutgers University, its message really resonated with me. Daniel Pink's Drive book - Human Motivation

Pink shares lessons from four decades of scientific research on human motivation. He explores what science knows about the subject and compares it with what business does — and does not do. He examines the three elements of true motivation — autonomy, mastery, and purpose — and offers simple ideas for putting these concepts into action.

Since much of my background as a CMO was in planning and meeting sales targets, I was especially interested in what he had to say about sales campaigns and how they should be designed. So many times, Sales and Marketing leaders develop a campaign and have no underlying knowledge of its impact. Oftentimes, Pink shows that sales campaigns can reduce, rather than increase motivation to produce results. His examples on the impact of bonuses should be required reading for all of us who want to increase revenue through higher productivity. In a nutshell, he says bonuses, especially bigger bonuses, can negatively impact performance by increasing pressure and tension to produce results. And he again shares real-life examples of how this happens and what to do to change your campaigns to produce the results we want.

Several of his examples involve the millenials and how to successfully engage them.   All of us, but especially these younger professionals, want autonomy. We are more engaged when we have control over when, how and where we work. We thrive on mastering skills. The more skillful we are at performing the required task, the better we do. Finally, we want purpose. We all want to know that we — and the work we do — matters. It has significance.


(I discussed Millenial management recently on THE WEALTH CHANNEL - 1:11 into segment)

If you are a CEO whose business needs to improve — and whose business doesn’t — I urge you to pick up a copy of this book!

Topics: Business Leadership and Strategy, CEO Choices, CEO Motivation, Strategic Insights