Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Data15 Keynote 2 – Daniel Pink

New style of work – free, independent from the Corporate fixed roles where you are passionate for what you do

Books include: “A whole new mind”, “Drive”

Today’s session we will look at “what motivates us” from a data driven perspective

Two types of knowledge: 1. Explicit knowledge (you know it and can show it) 2. Implicit knowledge (you know it but you don’t know you know it)

The laws of motivation are very evident. If you reward behaviour you get more of it. If you punish behaviour, you get less of it. You don’t need a hypothesis to test to understand this. If your unlying laws are a little off then you will misread situations. Punishing behaviour doesn’t always result in less of that behaviour.

4 economists did 9 tests in America and India. Everyone was treated the same way across a series of challenges except the reward they were given. Participants got 3 different levels of reward for good performance. India’s reward was a lot higher relatively. For mechanical tasks the highest reward group performed the best. “But once the task called for even rudimentary cognitive skill, a larger reward led to poorer performance”

Controlling contingent reward – if / then rewards – great for simple and short term work. Humans love rewards (it’s the definition of the word!). Rewards get our attention and focus. If / then rewards are not great for long term and complex tasks. Great for algorthymic tasks (ie follow a simple set of steps). If you are solving a creative task then you need an expansive view where you don’t have that laser-beam focus where you narrow your thinking. This contradicts our Implicit knowledge so this is why we don’t find this in every day society.

Animals are implicitly aware of fairness. If you have uneven pay levels, you will get rebellion. You have to pay people enough.

If you are getting people to do long term complex work, then you want them to stop thinking about the money

Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose – are the 3 key elements of work

1. Autonomy – let’s think about management – DP argues that management is a technology designed in the 1850s to produce improvements in task completion. You still need compliance but people don’t produce their great work when they are compliant, they do it when they are ‘engaged’. 2 in 10 people are actively disengaged in the workforce. You have to have sovereignty for your employees if you want engagement.

Zappos is the extremem version where there is no hierarchy or management.

Netflix is less extreme – their expense policy is “Act in Netflix’s best interest”

If you have autonomy on Time, Technique, Team and Task then this sovereignty gives you much higher engagement.

Atlassian – Australian Software company. Each week you have a ‘Ship It’ where devs work on what they want as long as they show it to the rest of company

Columbia Credit Union – one manager gives an hour each week to go and do something different than answer the phone. Called the ‘Genius Hour’

Manchester University – have ‘Friday Evening Experiments’ that “You’re allowed to do whatever you want as long as it is not boring” – no funding just try stuff. Led to Graphene discovery and a Nobel Prize.

So the message is carve out a few ‘Islands of autonomy’ – create space to try something different.

2. Mastery – “making progress in meaningful work” has been found as the key element. Feedback is vital to showing the progress is being made. Millennials have grown up where they have information at their fingertips the whole time. In organisations, the feedback disappears and is done every 6 months.

Two ideas – 1. weekly one-on-ones with a twist. Every monthly meeting ask ‘Love and Loathe’ rather than what you are working on. Career long term or Removing Barriers. 2. Progress Rituals – Humans create rituals to understand the world. Write down 3 good things that happened each day.

3. Purpose – How / Why – if you are struggling and find out the How it gets focus. Why gives the focus as it creates a purpose to deliver against. Have 2 fewer conversations about How and have 2 conversations about Why.

We have the chance to run organisations that work with the grain of how humans work.

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