AMPing Up Your Employees: Motivation According to Pink

With his book Drive! Daniel Pink has added another chapter in the discussion of motivation. Much has been written on motivation from Maslow, Herzberg and Skinner to Drucker. (I wrote on Drucker and Pink here.) Pink’s has added a discussion on work in the 21st Century. He talks about it in terms of AMPing your employees.

According to Pink motivation is not a matter of money; rather it is a matter of AMP. These three aspects of his motivation stand for:

Autonomy: the urge to direct our own lives.

Mastery: the desire to get better and better at something that matters.

Purpose: yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.

If you listen to Pink and the examples he uses, his model of motivation makes sense. However, the current world of work, in my opinion, is not quite ready for Motivation 3.0, as he calls it. Much work and the people that do it still respond best to the motivation of money. He does provide examples of companies who are exercising this new form of motivation methodology and forming ROWE workplaces. (Results Only Work Environments) I think many of the laws and rules promulgated by the U.S. Department of Labor stand in the way of companies instituting ROWE workplaces.

While it is easy to get enamored by Pink’s ideas it is instructive to realize Mr. Pink has his naysayers as well. Mark Fidelman of Instablog wrote Why Dan Pink’s Motivation and Compensation Advice is BullSh*t. It is constructive to read it for a counter point.

Here is a presentation that Daniel Pink made to TED called The Puzzle of Motivation. It is about 18 minutes long, but Dan is entertaining and it does make you think.

How are you motivating?

Do you have specific techniques for motivating your employees? Share your tips! 

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Mike Haberman

Michael (Mike) D. Haberman, SPHR is a consultant, speaker, writer of HR Observations, and co-founder of Omega HR Solutions, Inc. After over 30 years in HR he got tired of the past and focuses here on the Future of HR. Connect with Mike.

Reader Interactions


  1. Steve Conlin says

    I am also in the motivation businesses and my clients have had great success with motivating through travel, either through group incentive trips or individual/couple rewards.

    There is a difference between motivation and engagement. Both elements are critical to employee retainment and loyalty and, ultimately, growth.


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