Every day I get up and I can't wait to get to work. I'm 100% honest. The other day I was chatting with a few friends who work at JP Morgan on Wall St. They dread getting up in the morning for work and were only looking forward to the next paycheck and bonus. So I asked myself why is that?
Why am I so motivated and they are so depressed?
- It's not money. My friends earn tons more yet they are less motivated.
- It's not just interest. My friends are interested in their jobs but not motivated.
- It's not the prestige. All my friends are big shots on Wall St. and are less motivated.
As I thought about this Yahoo came to mind. Yahoo has been in a downward spiral for a while due to lack of motivation. Paul Graham hit the nail on the head when he said:
I remember talking to some programmers in the [Google] cafeteria about the problem of gaming search results (now known as SEO), and they asked "what should we do?" Programmers at Yahoo wouldn't have asked that. Theirs was not to reason why; theirs was to build what product managers spec'd. I remember coming away from Google thinking "Wow, it's still a startup."So what's up? Why are some people motivated and others aren't? Daniel Pink has the best answer out there summarizing years of research on this subject. The three things which motivate us are:
- Autonomy - the ability to be your own boss
- Mastery - an ability to excel at something
- Purpose - a sense of belonging to a greater cause
My Friends at JP Morgan
Do they have autonomy?
Not really. Their boss is constantly telling them what to do.Do they have an inspiring purpose?
Not really. Moving money around, making money for the bank and shareholders.Do they have a desire to master something?
Maybe after a while. Still not enough to motivate them without autonomy and purpose.
The Employees at Yahoo
Do they have autonomy?
Judging from Paul Graham's quote above - not really.Do they have an inspiring purpose?
Judging from the interview we did with the Head of Product Design at Yahoo, lack of focus and direction made their purpose unclear.Do they have a desire to master something?
Sure. They did at one point. However this got diluted by lack of focus and direction.
Thinking about my job here at ZURB - I have all three of these. Purpose - I'm excited to help people create better products through the use of our apps, teaching folks the latest JQuery and CSS3 tricks, getting amazing speakers for ZURBsoapbox and of course consulting the best companies in the world. There are so many horrible products out there. Mastery - I'm learning more and more about marketing every day. Autonomy - you bet. I go off on my own and run with a crazy wild idea almost daily. So no surprise I'm motivated.
Conclusion: if you want to have a motivated team building awesome product at your company give them autonomy, purpose, and mastery—the formula works!