I was asked recently how managers should determine what training people need, when to give it to them, and how best to monitor the outcomes. Perhaps that's the wrong question. Daniel Pink notes that many managers believe either that people need carrots and sticks (external rewards and punishments) or that they need pushing and careful "management" because people can be lazy if not pushed. In contrast, real drive and motivation (according to Pink and to many other leaders I've spoken with over the years) really comes from three things: 1. autonomy to some level over time, technique, team, and tools; 2. mastery (the ability and support to get better), and 3. a clear sense of purpose that is higher than self.
Think of the last time you did something you really loved. You may have been coaching kids after school, rebuilding a vintage automobile, planning an entrepreneurial startup, practicing snowboarding, researching chemical reactions. Did you need external rewards and punishments or careful outside management to get things done well and with motivation, perseverance and excitement? Didn't you monitor yourself and determine what you needed to get better as you went through the activities? And didn't you get better, putting in solid focused time? Organizations which build A, M and P into their cultures will find better outcomes, more commitment, less costly turnover, and overall, just more fun! The book DRIVE has more detail about how some companies implemented levels of autonomy, mastery and purpose to good effect and increased profit. What do you think about A,M,P as critical components to successful organizations?