Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I am reading the book Drive by Dan Pink (along with a bunch of other books since I can't seem to sit down with just one for too long). I find it very fascinating and I am looking forward to seeing if there is some practical tips I can use to improve things in my own work place. The premise is that intrinsic motivation is in many ways squelched by external rewards/punishments which is the traditional way for motivating people/employees. I think about our attempt at work to reduce central line infections and how not everyone is on board with doing the things a collaborative group of hospitals has said will help to reduce infection. Based on this book, the things we have tried (parties for increasing numbers of days without infection, etc) worked as expected. The reward system works in the short term (and it did for us), but people's long term motivation to see it through wanes (and our data says that we are taking steps backwards). So I think that the best way to approach it is just to say "we are doing this because it will create the best outcomes for our patients" and make that the focus. Irregular, unexpected rewards acknowledging a job well done are allowed, but if they become consistent, the reward becomes expected and the same problems result. Per the book, intrinsic motivation can be developed and is found in work that has autonomy, requires/allows the person to obtain mastery, and gives the person a sense of purpose. I am just now in the chapter on autonomy so I'll have to let you know how the rest of the book goes and what I think.  So far it is an interesting book based on psychological approaches and studies I find fascinating. After reading books like this and Freakonomics and it's sequel I sometimes think I should have been a behavioral economist or something (I didn't know that economics was the study of the way people behave). I find it so interesting (but I'm not sure I'm creative enough to think like they do).  I took an assessment from the book's website that says I am more extrinsically motivated than intrinsically. Guess I will have to work on that to be able to really make something of my life and be fulfilled.