Dan Pink’s new book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, has been getting a lot of press recently, and deservedly so. He demonstrates persuasively not only that people are self-motivated by the desire for autonomy, mastery, and purpose, but that the traditional carrot-and-stick model (i.e., “If you do this better or faster, you’ll receive a bonus or get promoted.”) is actually counter-productive. Pink’s argument feels very much in keeping with the “Respect for people” principle of lean, and ties in nicely to Dr. Deming’s red bead experiment (here and here).
I was thinking about this during an LEI class I took on developing A3s, based on John Shook’s Managing To Learn book. (A great investment, by the way, if you haven’t bought it yet.) John pointed out that one of the great gifts of using A3s in an organization is that it encourages front-line initiative. People have the chance (the responsibility, really) to take ownership of a problem and fix it. And the people best able to fix the problems are the ones who have direct involvement with the product or process.
In this regard, the A3 — when done correctly — is the perfect avenue to demonstrate Dan Pink’s ideas in action. The A3 provides the opportunity for autonomy (the front line staff does the analysis), mastery (learning more about the process and how it can be improved), and purpose (understanding how this piece of the process affects the whole organization and its ability to fulfill its mission). No carrot or stick needed — just the willingness to learn and improve.
Of course, the problem solving format you use is irrelevant. But keep in mind that along with PDCA, you want to promote some “Drive.”
For more from Dan Markovitz, visit TimeBackManagement.com.
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