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Daniel Pink Kicks Off ASTD 2010 With Monday Morning General Session

May 17, 2010 12:00 by Ann Pace

What's your sentence: What do you want to accomplish and what imprint do you want to leave on the world?

Daniel Pink asked these questions at 8:30 a.m. Monday morning to get ASTD 2010 International Conference & Exposition participants thinking about what motivates them.

Citing pyschological and economic research, Pink purported that if-then motivators only work well for mechanical skills, but not always for cognitive skills. Instead, "humans are engagement and contribution-seeking missiles," said Pink.

He continued by diving into the three elements of effective and enduring motivation for creative and conceptual tasks, supported by entertaining anecdotes and examples from real-world companies who are putting these concepts into practice:

  • Autonomy: Management is a technology designed to get compliance, not engagement. The better path to engagement is self-direction, or autonomy over time, technique, team, and task.
  • Mastery: Making progress at work is the biggest motivator for employees. The desire to get better is inherently satisfying for humans.
  • Purpose: When the profit motive becomes disentangled from the purpose motive, merely ordinary and sometimes bad things result. Humans have the innate desire to make a contribution.

Pink ended his presentation challenging participants to regularly practice self-assessment by asking themselves, "Was I better today than I was yesterday?"

To view a video of Pink's general session presentation, check out the ASTD 2010 Virtual Conference, beginning May 26.

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