Friday, September 23, 2011

Drive by Dan Pink

Drive
A review of Daniel H. Pink’s Book
By Peter A Hunter

Managers, recognising that Command and Control Management is no longer working, have been looking for the “something” to give to their workforces that will allow them to perform.

Their greatest mistake is assuming they know what it is that their workforces need.

All that managers really have to know is how to give their workforces what they already want.
All they really have to figure out is what that is.

Daniel Pink in his book “Drive” tells us what the workforce already want, and he also shows us how to give it to them.

There is a growing awareness today of the destructive nature of traditional management practices, usually called “Command and Control Management.”

Our workforces have long been aware of these problems but nobody ever listened to them.
What we are seeing today is an increasing volume of academic endeavour focussed on making management aware of those same problems because, as Dan Pink says;

“Management is not the solution, Management is the problem.”

Unfortunately management are not aware of the problems they create so they have no reason to look for solutions.

Daniel Pink, in this book “Drive,” not only very clearly and elegantly brings the problems to the attention of the reader but has also gone into some detail laying out many solutions that can be mixed and matched to suit individual circumstances/organisations.

All that we need to happen now is that the right people read this book, understand from Daniel Pinks analysis that they are the problem, and that they continue to read it as far as the solutions.

The book is divided into three separate parts;

The first takes the reader from a current position, perhaps of vague discomfort, or a mild annoyance that not everything seems to fit.
From this position Dan Pink takes us on a journey that starts, in time, in the late forties through an accumulation of seventy years of academic endeavour, largely disregarded because it did not fit with accepted notions of management and behaviour.

Dan summarises this section neatly with his “Seven Deadly Flaws of Carrot and Sticks.” Which he says can:
· extinguish Intrinsic motivation
· diminish performance
· crush creativity
· Crowd out good behaviour
· encourage cheating, shortcuts and unethical behaviour
· become addictive
· foster short term thinking

Together these flaws sum up the conditions that a conventional “Command and Control Management,” approach will create.

Dan quotes Richard Ryan who said that we all have the “Drive,” that is the title of the book, and that it is a part of our humanity, but whether it emerges, or not, in our lives depends on whether the conditions that surround us will support it.

In our working lives “Drive” tells us that these conditions are created by those who manage us.

What the first section of the book does is expose the management behaviour that crushes our “Drive” and leaves a potentially able and imaginative workforce unable to do original work, be creative or think for themselves.

Many managers will read this first section and genuinely believe that it does not apply to them.
These are the people who believe that the world begins and ends with them, who believe that without them nothing will happen and that other people exist to be used.

These are the people whose behaviour Dan Pink likens to coal.
“Cheap, easy, and efficient to resource but polluting and ultimately finite.”

The type of behaviour that must replace this antediluvian management model, Daniel compares to the Sun; “Clean energy that is inexpensive, safe to use and endlessly renewable.”

The book, having brought us to an understanding of the historical support for “Drive,” examines in more depth what this Drive actually consists of, how we can tap its potential and finally a whole host of tools that we can use on Monday morning to start to release the “Drive” that exists inside every single member of our workforce.

Daniel H. Pink with his book “Drive” has captured what generations of managers have never felt the need to acknowledge, that every single member of the workforce has experience, imagination and “Drive.”

The time will shortly be upon us when an organisation that has not released the “Drive” of it own workforce will not be able to compete in the same marketplace as those who have.

Those who have, will likely have read this book.

Peter A Hunter
www.breakingthemould.co.uk

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