“Don’t be afraid of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”
Salvador Dalí – 1904 to 1989. Painter and sculptor.
M is for Mastery which is pursued, but never quite achieved. It is that intrinsic motivation of constantly seeking improvement, rather than extrinsic motivation of awards, titles and money. Extrinsic motivators have their place and to earn money to live is important. However, to lay too much emphasis on such external measurements can inhibit creative thinking and achievement for one will do just enough to be rewarded. And once the reward is not there, then what? Intrinsic motivation is setting one’s own goals and striving to achieve them. The goal is self-fulfilling and the activity is its own reward. This moves us towards Mastery – the demonstration of supreme knowledge, attitude, skill and habit. Whether you run your own business or work for an organisation, how much do you focus on Mastery?
A is for Autonomy; the freedom of will and independence. Obviously there are degrees, for we have to take into account the environment and society in which we operate. Some cultures and organisations allow more freedom than others. Do you have freedom to pick your boundaries? Here’s a simple test to consider how much autonomy you have over your:
- Time. Do you and others have to account for the time you spend working (e.g. arriving at and leaving work at certain times and what you do) or do you have flexibility in achieving results and to what degree?
- Task. Is what you do programed on a daily/weekly basis or do you have freedom to decide what you’ll do on a given day to meet your responsibilities?
- Technique. Is it mandated how you will do your tasks or can you decide how you will perform the main responsibilities of your job?
- Team. How much choice do you have in choosing the people with whom you collaborate?
Rate each of the above on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 meaning “almost none” and 10 meaning “a huge amount”) to see what score you got out of 40 and where there’s areas for investigation.
P is for Purpose; the reason for what you do. The purpose motive provides a context for your work. The greater the purpose the more motivated, productive and satisfied we tend to be. For example, do you turn up to work so you can be paid or do you see it as an opportunity to contribute and help others to achieve? If you are in business for yourself do you see it as a chance to make money, or do you see it as an opportunity to create something better than presently exists?
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The above is based on the works of Daniel H. Pink.
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