During the glory days of homebuilding, I was promoted to Project Manager (PM) at the tender & clueless age of 25.
I knew a little bit about homebuilding.
I knew less about managing and leading employees.
One employee on my team was Mike.
He was 42 and had a lot of experience.
He was hired with the expectation he’d be a PM within 6 months.
But I had concerns with his work.
Lots of loose ends.
Not very detail-oriented.
In short order, we had him on “a Plan.”
This meant we were gathering CYA documentation while he was looking for another job.
One day my boss called me out to meet with Mike on-site.
Mike was quitting.
More specifically, Mike was quitting because of me.
I nodded quietly, expressionless, as my boss relayed what Mike had told him.
My boss interrupted himself. “Why aren’t you saying anything? This isn’t good.”
I was candid & emotionless.
“I disagree. This is good. Mike found a better fit elsewhere. Let’s wish him luck. We’re all aware we had him on “a Plan” because he wasn’t meeting expectations here. Let’s move on.”
My boss said nothing.
And then Mike said something that has stayed with me.
“You know, Bradley…. you have a lot of potential. But you’ve got a lot to learn too. You’ll experience more in the industry and your perspective will change. You’re gonna get married and your perspective will change. You’ll have kids and you’ll see the world in a new way. As you get older, you’ll look back on the way you manage and lead now and think about it differently.”
Years later, Mike was 100% right.
I wish I had considered other methods to improve how we all worked together.
I wish I had considered other methods to improve how I worked with Mike.
In short, I wish I had read Drive by Dan Pink back then.
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us examines the best and worst of how businesses attempt to motivate people to do their best work.
Pink digs into the scientific research on motivation and consistently reveals the head-butting between “what science knows and what business does.”
Carrots and sticks, year-end bonuses, sales commissions, and sitting behind a desk from 8 am – 5 pm everyday… Pink helps us dig into thinking about these ubiquitous business elements more intelligently.
R.O.W.E. stands for Results-Only Work Environments.
Pink identifies several R.O.W.E companies and shares insights on how it works.
R.O.W.E’s are all about results. If you can get the job done and be available for communication, work wherever you want and however you want. The How is less important than the What.
Too often workers are required to punch the clock for 8 hours each day. Their physical presence behind a desk is apparently a calming influence, regardless of how little work is getting done.
If Tammie can do her job well while chillin’ in bed or sitting poolside in Miami… who cares?
Offices can be smaller (saving overhead dollars) and employees will be happier, but this freaks micro-managers out, especially with employees they don’t trust.
What if no one comes to work?
Who will I, as boss, boss around?
How will I keep track of them?
How do I know they’re not just chillin’ in bed all day?
Regardless of whether or not it works for you, it’s a great thought exercise.
How often are you so focused at work that all time passes away.
You enter “The Zone.”
Just the right amount of challenge.
You are in the moment.
Then you snap to….
You look at the clock and say, “Whoa! I’ve been doing this for 4 hours?”
This is known as the state of Flow and its presence is an indicator you’re doing what you should be doing. If you have no idea what I’m talking about… you’re not in the right job.
Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose.
These are the 3 elements required to motivate well. Money is surely a motivator, but only up to a point and in certain conditions. Allowing employees to pursue the work in their own manner, pushing for true expertise, and establishing a clear purpose for daily work are all required for effective motivation.
Fed Ex Days
Block out an entire day for your team to work on anything they want. Give them everything they need (Swedish Fish, Red Bull, attention and encouragement) and get out of the way.
At the end of the day, something must be shipped.
“People must deliver something – a new idea, a prototype of a product, a better internal process – the following day.”
Rewards narrow our focus.
Other important things are ignored as the Reward becomes the focal point of our effort.
Everyone these days seems to be juggling several different tasks. Reward with the right intent in the wrong way and all the balls except one – the Reward – will clatter to the ground.
Pink offers some great guidelines to walking the Reward tightrope.
Back to Mike…
I recently learned Mike now works with a friend of mine.
“Really? Tell Mike I said hi…. Better yet, the 3 of us ought to grab a beer sometime. I often think back to something he said to me. Knowing what I do now, I’d certainly handle our relationship differently.” I said.
“Uhh, I don’t think so.” my friend said.
“Oh. You guys really busy?”
“No. It’s not that. Mike really hates you.”
“Oh.” I said.
I was caught off-guard by this.
I felt bad.
“OK. Just tell him he was right….”
Bottom Line: Drive should be mandatory reading for any manager and leader. Buy this book now and read it once a year. Have round-table discussion on this. Try out the R.O.W.E. There’s a reason Dilbert is a million-dollar cartoon… unfortunately it’s spot-on for millions of workers.
Bradley Hartmann is El Presidente at Red Angle (www.redanglespanish.com). He’s trying to read 52 books this year. So far he’s behind, but he is very intrinsically motivated…
27. Drive by Dan Pink
Categories: Libro 52 Challenge