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Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose – The Right Way To Work

This post was written by: Steve Lees – Operations Director

The world of work is changing, with roles becoming more about thinking and problem solving, rather than just doing. In this new world, we have to find innovative ways to motivate, encourage and reward colleagues if we want them to deliver the best they can.

DealTrak’s approach to this is based on the theory of Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose from the book “Drive” by Dan Pink.

What is Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose?

  • Autonomy: Giving people the freedom to be in control of their work, what they do and how they do it.
  • Mastery: The total belief that people want to get better at what they do and creating an environment that allows them to continually develop.
  • Purpose: The feeling of being connected to something that matters – work should be so much more than “just a job.”

The traditional view is to give employees tasks, with clear objectives and rewards (usually monetary) to do more work in less time. Over the short term, these can result in incremental improvements, but in the long run they are not sustainable. In fact, money as a motivator can have exactly the opposite effect than you are looking for.

The Way Forward

I believe maximising our human potential starts with trusting people. If colleagues are truly motivated from within and feel genuinely valued, appreciated and engaged, the sky is the limit to their input and effectiveness.

This alternate way to motivate provides greater freedom, which results in greater shared responsibility. People will start to work harder and think smarter if they feel truly involved in what they are delivering.

Eventually, work becomes its own reward.

Does it Really Work?

I know all of this sounds great, but I can hear managers saying, “We have deadlines to hit, we need to have control and the ability to direct what gets done!”

Since I joined DealTrak as Operation Director in June last year, I have been introducing this approach and already we are seeing long term sustainable benefits.

It by no means guarantees overnight success, but when you embed Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose, the people in your organisation will not only want to achieve the common goals of the organisation, but they will also see the benefits, and stay motivated to carry on. Go on…try it, you may be surprised.

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