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Are Cash Bonuses the Wrong Way to Incentivize Lawyers?

Recently, The Invent Blog posted a great video based upon a short lecture by Daniel Pink (“What Motivates Us”) related to his book, “Drive.”

In short, Pink says that while cash bonuses successfully produce higher performance for tasks that only require mechanical skill, studies show this is not true for tasks where even rudimentary cognitive skill or creativity is required. When trying to motivate people for cognitive tasks (like, say, lawyering), Pink says, employers must pay people enough to take the issue of money off the table (so they don't feel underpaid), but beyond that cash bonuses are ineffective. Rather, he says, three factors lead to better performance for such employees:

1. Autonomy: the desire to be self-directed;

2. Mastery: the urge to be challenged and to get better at something; and

3. Purpose: the desire to make a difference.

Check out the video below, including the amazing illustrator who makes the guy from the UPS commercials look like an amateur by comparison.

Posted by Bruce Carton on June 18, 2010 at 12:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)


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