A lot of people don’t realize but the entire landscape of the business world is shifting. Most of us only hear about break throughs in physical science, but there are some incredible things being discovered in the realm of social science. There is a new movement of businesses that intrinsically motivates their employees rather than extrinsically motivating them only with a paycheque or bonus.
Before there were two types of businesses ‘for profit and not for profit’. Now there’s a new spectrum of businesses flourishing. ‘For-benefit’, there’s ‘low-profit limited liability corporations or L3C’, there’s ‘social businesses’, there’s ‘B Corporations’. All these new forms of businesses appeal to an intrinsic value or a cause. The motivation isn’t just to maximize monetary profits, it’s more importantly about maximizing social profits. The focus has shifted to something extrinsic to something intrinsic.
Social scientists are beginning to really challenge the old school way of motivation. Reward the behavior you want, and punish the behavior you don’t want. Or as Dan Pink puts it in his book ‘ Drive’, human motivation isn’t reduced to ‘carrots and sticks’, where you put a carrot in front of me to make me move, and you use a stick to stop my behavior. They are beginning to see that humans are most productive not when they have someone breathing down their back (manager) or when you attach a bonus or reward to work. They are beginning to see that people are most productive when they are intrinsically motivated.
****Side note: This begins to explain why many of people we consider ‘successful’ have a work ethic that some of us will never see. Many of them are quoted saying ‘it’s not about the money, I just love what I do’. Donald Trump says ‘I don’t go on vacation often, when I do it’s a work vacation’. What was Donald saying? He says he loves what he does. A billionaire who can afford to never work another day in his life, is in the office at 5am every morning, and some of us complain about an 8am class. And this isn’t just Donald Trump. There’s so many others like him. Warren Buffet, Will Smith, Michael Jordan, Oprah, Jk Rowling, Beyonce, Bill Gates and the list goes on. They weren’t in it for the money. They were intrinsically motivated. They loved the ‘thing’ itself. The money came as a byproduct to them pursuing the passion. So my question is, have we missed something? Have we become so focused on the money or the extrinsic reward, that we fail to see that there’s another alternative to making money besides focusing on the money itself? This is probably why most of us are so miserable or dread going to work. Or look forward to the weekend so much. I personally believe that there is something in successful people that we need to explore. And we need to stop classifying them as individual successes or attribute their success to luck. I believe they’ve tapped into a level of human potential that is built into all of us. But we just don’t access it. Give it some thought.
Back to the topic at hand, many of these new businesses with a social benefit on the come up appeal to an intrinsic value. This is the direction business is taking. What does it hurt to discover what intrinsically motivates you? People think that pursuing your passion means I have to shy away from a full time job or I have to venture out on my own, but it’s not. Pursuing your passion can simply mean pursuing what you love through a job that you love. Aligning your passion with your profession.
Right now the work environment or most businesses are separated into two components. Planning labour and manual labour. I used to think just happened, but it didn’t. When I began to research the history of management I found out that it was a relatively new concept (late 1800s, early 1900s) developed by a man named Fredrick Taylor. And so if you wonder why the people in the Head Office or executives of corporations do more planning and less manual work, it’s in part due to this gentleman. For most of us, we execute what the execs of our company plan. In a nutshell, his logic was this: To increase the productivity of workers you need someone to tell them exactly what to do, how to do it and when to do it (Management). This model worked in the past and contributed to tons to economic growth and technological advancements. But as the societal context changes the model needs to as well. You see my species has the habit of building on its predecessors work whether it’s the most effective method or not. There are individuals in our time who are raising up a new standard. And as the businesses restructure to tap into the human potential more, schools will be forced to restructure. Because school is designed to prep you for the workplace. These social engineers and individuals who have caught a glimpse of this shift are tapping into another level of human potential. Where they don’t see humans as drones, who just do whatever their managers tell them, but they have a creative genius, and intellectual power that can do wonders if given an environment to flourish. All they need is guidance.