It’s been a busy and exciting month at Portland Internetworks.  We moved into our amazing new space and held a fun housewarming celebration.  We also opened up some free space for our friends Special Olympics of Oregon in support of their inspired turnaround effort.  We closed on an exciting national deployment project and enhanced our customer engagement efforts.  We shared with our team some ideas of the company roadmap to our teammates while we collaborated on our Mission/Vision/Values 2.0 initiative.  And, as I write this month’s A Word From Doug, jack-o’-lanterns are being carved in our new, expanded kitchen area.  In short, it’s been an uplifting month of achievements, large and small.

I was searching for a topic for November’s article when a respected colleague and collaborator shared an article from last weekend’s New York Times entitled “Science Confirms It:  People Are Not Pets”.  Author Alfie Kohn writes that overwhelming scientific evidence contradicts the commonsense belief that rewards (financial or other goodies) are actually destructive to motivation and undermine high-quality achievement.

I read author Daniel Pink’s book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivate Us a few years ago which came to similar conclusions which blew my mind at the time.  Pink goes further than Kohn by digging deeply into what does motivate people and even devotes a third of his book on how to create “Intrinsically Motivated” people–what he describes as Type I Behavior–in business, in education or in one’s personal life.

These topics were critical as we overhauled our company culture about five years ago.  When a CEO friend asked me how we managed to retain our strategic key employees, I started to wonder what motivates people to come to work and achieve at a high level every single day.  The lessons in Drive absolutely shaped the company we are today, and we are regularly recognized for the culture and engagement of our team.

Pink’s meaty mid-book chapters cover:

  • An exploration of Autonomy (our desire to be self-directed)
  • Mastery (our urge to make progress and get better at what we do), and
  • Purpose (our yearning to contribute and to be part of something larger than ourselves)

As you think of the companies that you respect and who are noted for achieving incredible results, is it more likely that you imagine their employees being Autonomous, Masters, and Purposeful?  Or, do you imagine that they were lavished giant bonuses for achieving quotas and deadlines?

If you are interested in transforming how to motivate your team and to have some common beliefs about rewards and punishments dispelled along the way, hit me up–I’ll send you a copy of Drive.  You can fill me in later on how it changed your thinking and actions!


Happy Thanksgiving!

doug, CEO