Motivation, Management, and Happiness

Motivation, Management, and Happiness

I’ve been reading research conducted by Daniel Pink, who points out that people are not necessarily motivated by money, but instead by accomplishment, specifically autonomy, mastery, and purpose.  His book Drive is at the top of the “business must read” business book lists this year.  A few years back he wrote about A Whole New Mind (Revenge of the Right Brain), where he asserts that technical skills are important, however, “soft skills” (artistry, empathy, etc.) are equally important.  I believe these soft skills and an understanding about motivation are important for company leaders to understand and exhibit.

So, we know that people are motivated by accomplishment, and we know what management skills should benefit any company – let’s talk about compensation and happiness.  Recent research by Princeton University has concluded that money does make us happy “up to a point” – that “point” is $75,000 (or about $15,000 above the medium household income in the US) – according to the study.  The research points out that $75,000 is important for general life happiness and not “day to day” feeling happy.

It makes you think about what really motivates people and why do some people act differently in different situations.  For instance the CEO of HP recently decided to “tweak” his expense report when he was dining with a woman whom he had a “business relationship” with at his company (HP). Ultimately, he resigned from a job that paid him approximately $30 million per year (He was reportedly in the process of negotiating a new contract that was rumored to be $300 million).  I guess one could argue that HP set a strong “tone at the top” by demonstrating zero tolerance for expense report lying, to the point of separating with a “rock star” CEO who allowed them to grow their sales past IBM.

So, how does this tie into the work I do at Kunkle Consulting?  Well, the definition of corporate governance (according to IT think tank Gartner) is the process by which policies are set and decision making is executed.  Motivation, happiness, the tone at the top, and management skills all play a key role in corporate governance.  Information Technology (IT) and IT Governance support corporate governance.  To learn more, contact me.

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