Most economic theories (and many managers) assume that the best way to get what you want from workers is give them the right financial incentives.
But most real people have lots of reasons for working besides just making money. They work to have fun, to socialize with others, to challenge themselves, to find meaning in their lives, and for many other reasons. To bring out people’s best efforts in their work, we need to engage more of these non-monetary motivations.
Of course, there’s nothing new about the fact that people are often more dedicated and creative when they are doing work they enjoy or find meaningful. But in our increasingly knowledge-based and innovation-driven economy, human brains—not capital—are becoming the primary drivers of business success. And having dedicated, creative workers can often mean the difference between business success and failure.
So how can we engage people’s best efforts? How can we make work more fun?
One of the best ways to make work fun is to give people more control over what they do. In my book The Future of Work , I talked about how giving people more control—more freedom—in business is now...