Daniel Pink has stated that “There is a mismatch between what science knows and what business does” and business is not excited about embracing this ‪#‎knowledge‬.

The reason contingent motivators don’t work is because they replicate the “conditions of worth” paradigm of childhood. The parental injunction: “If you behave in these ways, even if you have to cut off important parts of your self, then you will receive our approval.” The problem with business identified by Pink is that those kids that got the most of this type of parental injunction are replicating the paradigm of their development as ‪#‎leaders‬ in the hierarchical ‪#‎business‬ world. Their mental model of life is centered on the belief that everything is instrumental and that ‪#‎motivation‬ is created by external rewards. In other words, they perceived early on that “love” was conditional (whether it was or not) and that these “conditions” required them to give up parts of themselves. Perhaps, they chose to go into business because the “carrot and stick” created an “at home feeling.” In familiar territory they know what to do and how to get others to do it as well. What about the others? They are kindred spirits who sought their employment because it replicated their histories as well. Since the consequences of our actions are often remote in time, they remain unaware of the price they are paying and the cost their company is paying in the loss of competitive advantage. Interestingly, The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge defines learning as changing your mental models!

There are two big problems with the “instrumental” paradigm that characterizes most businesses: 1.Resistance is pervasive. Even though business leaders and employees understand the “game” they are playing, part of them resist giving up their striving for wholeness just because they happen to be earning a living at the time. In short, “nothing living will obey.” 2. A lot if not most of twenty first century business is required to create new knowledge to remain competitive. You cannot seduce or coerce creativity or commitment. They are byproducts of wholeness (objective self-knowledge) and present themselves most readily in environments that recognize and encourage our unique gifts.

I agree with Pink that it’s all about hope and liberating the self through autonomy, mastery and purpose.

William D. Anton, Ph.D.
Author, Business Success through Self-Knowledge