ERNI I Barbara Schiller

Barbara Schiller
ERNI Germany


How did you come across this book?

It was recommended to me by a colleague at ERNI. It happened when we discussed Agile Leadership, a subject of passion to me.

Passion for the topic was what drove me to sit down in my spare time this weekend, reading the whole book in no time. I was eagerly trying to figure out which inspiration I could draw from the book to improve my concept of Agile Leadership.

Even though the insights on human motivation and behavior were not utterly new to me, I still discovered new perspectives and structural approaches I could use to refine my assumptions.

My colleagues’ interest in my work and my vision to create a concept of high value for other ERNIANS and customers motivated me.

Can you tell a bit about the author?

Daniel Pink is a bestselling author who focuses on the question of how motivation can be stimulated or strangled and how employee-management-relations work.

His conclusions are based on scientific studies which results were often a surprise, even to the ones who initiated them.

Who, for example, would expect that some words of praise could have a negative effect on the endurance of the praised one? Who would think that creativity could be hindered by rewards?

What did you like best about the book?

I liked the open end best. It encourages you to further work with inspiration. There is practical advice on how to motivate yourself and others intrinsically.

The author’s questions send you on your personal way to implement the concepts in your daily life and they wake you up to set out for further discovery in the field of motivation. Only an active and dynamic approach to learning and working can give you the drive to enhance your perspective and to change and adapt your mindset. It’s a piece of work – and nobody else can do it for you.

What was the main thought you took away from the book?

If you provide perfect conditions for motivation, it will automatically pop up. True engagement comes from within and it can not, in the long run, be imposed from outside, but only be supported by appreciation. For high-class results and an exceptional work attitude, you need to strive for a level of commitment that needs a certain environment to grow. Providing, measuring, and creating this environment, for example by Agile Leadership, is the key to success.

Is there something that especially resonated with you?

I am in line with the motivational factors of purpose (giving a project goal and mission), mastery (crafting your abilities) and autonomy (choose your own way to solve problems). You can identify those factors in my intrinsic motivation to read the book and to work actively with its content.

But I would like to add some factors, which are not described by the author as stand-alone, but still, I would like to refer to them when it comes to motivation.

The first is related to co-workers and stakeholders. This is far more than punishment and reward. It means to feel connected to others by what you say and do. In relation (to team-mates, colleagues, or customers) even small steps on a development path make sense because you can learn together. In relation, you can contribute to another’s well-being while you are working together well and this can motivate you.

The other motivator to me is creativity. This includes more than autonomy because creativity doesn’t only mean discovering your unique ways. It also means to allow yourself to see parallels and connection in things which seem not to be related at first. It satisfies and triggers curiosity. This is a kind of playful, relaxed working-mode. Pink describes its positive results and certain practices to give creativity a chance. In my opinion, it is great to open the eyes of the public that “FedEx-days” for example trigger innovation. But what lies ahead is to show how leaders can support creativity constantly in structural frameworks in their daily business.

Would you recommend this book?

I would definitely recommend it since it explains why people don’t need to be stimulated to motivation – far more important is to not cut down on their natural motivation!

Motivation is one of the most valuable resources managers have to deal with since highly motivated people WILL find solutions, they WILL endure even tough times and they WILL walk the mile to support others and to give their best.

We, as leaders, can learn how to create frameworks where motivation can grow, we can motivate ourselves to work disciplined on structural concepts for motivation and we can acknowledge the purpose of motivation: to release good feelings in people when they are working and to give way to exceptional results.

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