Continuous Improvement Blog Post

Safety Motivation and Performance Indicators

“The Puzzle of Motivation”

Often times we get caught up in an “old” way of thinking. We differ to what we’ve been taught, the way we’re used to thinking, training, and motivating each other.

Unfortunately, times are changing.

The ultimate battle between extrinsic vs. intrinsic motivational tactics are sliding in a new direction. The following Ted Talk by Daniel Pink highlights the downfall of extrinsic motivation and the demise of incentive based programs in the workplace.

Throughout the video, Pink refers to the “candle problem” and the flaws that come with incentive based programs. He uses the term “functional fixedness,” which simple means you have a cognitive bias towards an object and you will only use it for its intended purpose.

Pink claims there is a significant mismatch between what we know in science and what business does

Although he is not a scientist, Pink is among the many believers in the data we now have in favor of intrinsic motivation. Study after study, across cultures have shown that incentive based programs dull thinking and block creativity.

The “if you do this, then you get that” method simply doesn’t work in the 21st century business world. The issues we face today are not cut and dry problems with clear solutions. Which is exactly why Pink believes we need to stop ignoring the information social scientist have been providing for years and


How do you motivate your employees? What steps do you take when implementing new regulations or safety guidelines?

Enjoy the video and feel free to comment or add your take on the extrinsic vs intrinsic motivation debate.

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