Tag Archives: Drive

You Can Purchase Our Book Synopsis Presentations – Subscription Plan Now Available

Let me take a moment for a “commercial.”  This blog is a place to learn information, a place to be challenged, a place to think about ideas for effective business ideas and strategies.  But occasionally, I would like to share a little about what we do.

Karl Krayer and I have spoken monthly at the First Friday Book Synopsis for over 12 years.  We are book readers, thinkers, consultants.  We also offer training in a number of areas:  writing skills, presentation skills, leadership, time and energy management, among others.  (Read our bios here).

In addition, we provide book synopsis/book briefing presentations to companies and organizations.  You can choose from any of the books we have presented, or we can custom prepare any book for your organization.

To contact us for any of these programs, visit our web site here, or send me an e-mail:  .  Contact us, and Karl Krayer or I will get back to you.

We have recently upgraded our companion website, 15minutebusinessbooks.com.  We have been “behind,” but we are catching up with the synopses of many of the books we have presented at the First Friday Book Synopsis.  For example, we have just uploaded our presentations of these books:

Reality Check
The New Experts
The Post American World

Others are on the way soon.  And from this point forward, we should have the two books from the most recent First Friday Book Synopsis within a couple of weeks after each event.

Note:  it is important to read the faq’s before you make your first purchase.  These address many of your questions (read the faq’s here).  Each presentation comes with the handout plus the audio of our presentation.  The handout is intended to be used with the audio.  The vast majority of the recordings are from our presentations at the First Friday Book Synopsis, but not all.

Some people purchase these, and listen on their own (in their car; in their iPod/MP3 while they exercise).  Others listen, following along with the handout.  (This is probably the way to get the most out of each presentations).

And we have some who play the audio for a group, then lead a discussion of the implications and applications.  Great idea!

You can purchase at two price points:  $9.99 per synopsis, or a yearly subscription, with full access to all of the archives plus the 24 new presentations a year.  A bargain!

Browse titles with the catalog, and make individual synopsis purchases, here.

Sign up for the annual subscription, get instant and full access to all the presentations already up on the web site, and access all new presentations for the next 12 months, here.

I hope you will give our services a try.  Either bring us into your company or organization, or purchase our book synopsis presentations through our web site.  These will provide valuable content and useful help as you build your future.


Note:  Karl Krayer and I work together in Creative Communication Network.  In addition, we have blogging team members who work independently..

Our blogging team partner, Bob Morris, is available as a consultant.  He is an invaluable resource for an array of business issues and problems.  He is also a master interviewer (just browse through his interviews!), and can provide custom interviews to fit the needs of your company or organization.  You can contact Bob directly at .

And our other blogging team partners, Cheryl Jensen and Sara Smith of C&S Knowledge Company provide valuable services.  Visit their web site here, where you can also find their contact information.

How Do You Motivate An Employee? — How Do You Motivate Yourself?

Recently, after my first presentation of my synopsis/briefing of Daniel Pink’s Drive, I wrote these observations and questions/implications:

• Some observations:

1.              Different jobs require different approaches to motivation.
2.              Different people require different approaches to motivation.
3.              The extrinsic motivation of the last century works best for “routine” jobs.
4.              Extrinsic motivation can actually de-motivate for creative jobs.
5.              Jobs that require a great deal of creativity and innovation require intrinsic motivation.
6.              Intrinsic motivation is related to the higher levels of Maslow’s hierarchy, and to the concept of Flow popularized by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.
7.              The new workplace is one that must evolve into a workplace of intrinsic motivation.

• Some questions/implications:

1.              Are you primarily intrinsically motivated or extrinsically motivated?
2.              How do you know which approach is the one that works best for you?
3.              When have you found yourself in the “state of flow?”
4.              How can you provide more autonomy for yourself, and others, in your workplace?
5.              How can you better affirm the desire for/need for mastery in your workplace?
6.              How can you help yourself and others strive to fulfill a higher purpose in your workplace?

I have long recommended Encouraging the Heart: A Leaders Guide to Rewarding and Encouraging Others by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner as the best book available on how to get the best out of employees.

Here’s my current reflection…  First, look at my first two observations:  different jobs do require different approaches to motivation.  A person repairing potholes likely needs a different set of rewards than a person who is tasked with coming up with a new marketing campaign.  And, two different people likely are motivated in different ways.  Kouzes and Posner strongly argue that all rewards should be personalized – i.e., designed for the person as in individual.

But for an increasing number of us, we work “alone.”  We have to manage our own work, we have to schedule our own time, and we have to “motivate ourselves.”  Though clients and others might encourage us some, we have to get going, day in and day out, on our own.

So – the question for me, and for a lot of you, is this question  — how do I motivate myself?

That is the challenge.

John Wooden – Exemplar of Intrinsic Motivation

I have always deeply admired John Wooden.  I wrote this post about him last October, and this brief tribute after his death.  But now, after a couple of days of reading/hearing a lot more about him, I want to add, or at least reinforce, a couple of observations.

#1  John Wooden was an exemplar of intrinsic motivation.

In Drive by Daniel Pink, Pink writes this:

If someone’s baseline rewards aren’t adequate, or equitable, her focus will be on the unfairness of her situation and the anxiety of her circumstance.  You’ll get neither the predictability of extrinsic motivation nor the weirdness of intrinsic motivation.  You’ll get very little motivation at all.  But once we’re past that threshold, carrots and sticks can achieve precisely the opposite of their intended aims.

What he says is simple, and makes sense.  If there is enough money to take care of the “baseline,” then money is “off the table,” and one can concentrate on what is important to that individual.

John Wooden was motivated by this:  he wanted to teach.

From Wikipedia: “He never made more than $35,000 a year salary (not including camps and speaking engagements), including 1975, the year he won his 10th national championship, and never asked for a raise,” wrote Rick Reilly of ESPN.

So, yes, Coach Wooden was paid adequately, but he clearly was not motivated by money.  He was motivated by his hunger and drive to teach.  In his own words:

What am I?  Just a teacher – a member of one of the great professions in the world.

In the Los Angeles Times article by Mike Penner, written on the 99th birthday of Coach Wooden (which I quoted in my blog post), he reported that Wooden turned down an offer to coach the Lakers from owner Jack Kent Cooke that may have been 10 times what UCLA was paying him.

Why did he do that?  How could he do that?  Was he crazy?  Quick – name another person who would have turned down such a massive amount of money.  Actually, there are others.  Pat Tillman left his NFL salary to serve his country.  But, admittedly, the list is short.

Wooden turned it down because he viewed himself as a teacher, and he simply was not in it for the money.  His motivation came from within, from something that came close to a sense of calling.  He was the exemplar of intrinsic motivation.

#2 – Coach Wooden was a great teacher.

As I read about his life after his death, here is a message that is being repeated often:  he grew closer to his former players after his wife’s death.  What kept them so close to him?  For most of them, he was only around them for one chapter of their life – the college chapter.  They had other coaches, other teachers.  Why so close to him?

I think this. They remembered the impact he had made on them, and they wanted to recapture just a little more of it.  Or, at least, to remember it a little better.  He was a truly sincere, utterly memorable teacher.  Listen to his players.  They all seem to remember individual practice session, individual comments, and of course the lesson on how to put on your socks.

He loved to teach.  And it has been oft reported that what he missed most after leaving coaching was the practice sessions.  Not the games; not the championships; the practice sessions (the teaching sessions).

Those are just 2 observations.  I could go on and on.  There seems so much to learn from Coach Wooden.  I hope you are reading a few of the articles out there.

The list of lessons is long – as it should be.  We have lost a remarkable human being.

Come Hear my Presentation of Drive by Daniel Pink – at Tomorrow’s First Friday Book Synopsis

If you live in the DFW area, come join us tomorrow.  I will present my synopsis of Drive tomorrow morning at the First Friday Book Synopsis.  (Register here).

I have had a run of good books lately.  Here’s my list for the last four months, including tomorrow’s presentation (and, of course, Karl Krayer has also had some terrific books that he presented):

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard
by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
by Atul Gawande.

by Jason Fried and  David Heinemeier Hansson.

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
by Daniel H. Pink.

Drive is a good, important book.  Consider this quote:

This is a book about motivation.  Most businesses haven’t caught up to this new understanding of what motivates us.  Too many organizations – not just companies, but governments and nonprofits as well – still operate from assumptions about human potential and individual performance that are outdated, unexamined, and rooted more in folklore than in science…  Something has gone wrong.

For too long, there’s been a mismatch between what science knows and what business does.  The goal of this book is to repair that breach.


Most of the presentations are now up (or soon will be), with audio + handout, for purchase at our companion web site, 15minutebusinessbooks.com.

Thoughts on Work Ethic (With Wisdom From Doctor J)

I have a love-love-hate relationship with the concept of work ethic.  First, the obvious – without it, success is impossible.  Let me say that again – success, mastery, breakthroughs – they all require a great, dedicated, dead-serious work ethic.  (That’s the love-love part of the relationship).

Here’s the hate part.  Work ethic alone does not guarantee success.  Many people work very hard only to see their plant closed, their company go bankrupt…  So – work ethic does not guarantee genuine success.  But a poor work ethic practically comes close to guaranteeing failure.

Anyway, here are a few lines from Daniel Pink’s Drive to reinforce the “have a good work ethic” rule.

“Grit” – “perseverance and passion and long-term goals.”  (the #1 predictor of success at West Point).  In every field, grit may be as essential as talent to high accomplishment.

“Effort means you care about something, and you are willing to work for it.”  (Carol Dweck).

“Being a professional is doing the things you love to do on the days you don’t feel like doing them.”  (Julius Erving).

Innovation Is Cheap – Mediocrity (The Failure To Innovate) Is What Is Expensive

My blogging colleague, Bob Morris, has written about the difference between creativity and innovation.  And there are many books, some quite wonderful, about creativity and innovation.  But here is what hit me directly between the eyes about it this weekend.

It is a quote in Drive by Daniel Pink.  Pink argues that extrinsic motivation (Pink:  Motivation 2.0) – you know, rewards and punishments, the kind of motivation that was made famous and served workers well in the early part of the 20th century, does not help in jobs that require creativity and innovation.  In fact, they can be counterproductive, practically de-motivating.

And in the midst of his discussion of the new approach to motivation needed in the workplace of today, is this quote:

“The ultimate freedom for creative groups is the freedom to experiment with new ideas.  Some skeptics insist that innovation is expensive.  In the long run, innovation is cheap.  Mediocrity is expensive – and autonomy can be the antidote.”  (Tom Kelley, General Manager IDEO).

Kelley is an innovation guru, and his firm, IDEO, is an innovation factory.  They are hired to come up with designs for products.  So, everything has to be new.

But think about what he wrote.  Innovation is cheap, because breakthrough innovations provide the next product/system/approach that leads to market share and maybe market dominance.  In other words, if you want to discover what is really expensive, then fail to innovate.  If you don’t innovate; if you don’t stay ahead of the next iteration and/or breakthrough, then your success of today will disappear in a heartbeat.

It is mediocrity – the failure to innovate when you could have, and you should have – that is so very expensive.

So, whatever else leaders need to provide, this is one thing they’d best not fail it – providing an environment that truly nurtures innovation.

That’s really what Pink’s book, Drive, is all about.