Dan Pink Drive Video


A couple have been asking where they can find the Dan Pink Drive video used in ‘The surprising science behind agile leadership’ session. It’s on youtube but you can also watch it here.

Surprising science behind agile leadership slides


Thanks to everyone who came out to The Surprising Science Behind Agile Leadership at Agile2011.

It was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed the Q&A session after.

Here’s the slide deck.

Slide deck (pdf).

Good fun. See you all tomorrow.

Yet more reasons to embrace your inner generalist


In preparing for The Surprising Science Behind Agile Leadership I came across some more great quotes from Dan Pink’s Drive on why great products and teams often come from teams of autonomous, self-directed, multi-talented generalists.

This is a continuation of my previous post The Rise of the Generalist.

Dan shares a great quote from CEO Cannon-Brookes regarding who Atlassians regards the role of engineers and how they apply 20% time:

A startup engineer must be all things-he (or she) is a full time software developer and a part time product manager/customer support guru/internal systems maven. As a company grows, an engineer spends less time building the things he personally wants in the product. Our hope is that 20% time gives engineers back dedicated stack time- of their own direction-to spend on product innovation, features, plugins, fixes or additions that they think are the most important.

Another great example of shedding labels and giving people autonomy over the 4 T’s: their task, their time, their technique, and their team is the pioneering work of William McKnight and 3M.

In the 1930 and 1940s McKnight believed in a simple, and at the time, counter intuitive creed:

Hire good people, and leave them alone.

Well before it was fashionable to talk about empowerment, and intrinsic motivation, McKnight made a strong case for autonomy:

As our business grows, it becomes increasingly necessary to delegate responsibility and to encourage men and women to exercise their initiative. This requires considerable tolerance. Those men and women, to whom we delegate authority and responsibility, if they are good people, are going to want to do their jobs in their own way. Mistakes will be made. But if a person is essentially right, the mistakes he or she makes are not as serious in the long run as the mistakes management will make if it undertakes to tell those in authority exactly how they must do their jobs. Management that is destructively critical when mistakes are made kills initiative. And it’s essential that we have many people with initiative if we are to continue to grow.

That’s a pretty cool management philosophy and McKnight (and 3M) were definitely ahead of their time.

Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us


My good friend Chad Fournier recently shared this great link about Dan Pink’s excellent book Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us.

This video blew me away.

When and how money does (and does not) motivate us?

  • Turns out money is a fine motivator for mechanical tasks (like ditch digging)
  • But is actually a terrible motivator for things that require any kind of form of engagement and creative thinking

The best use of money as a motivator, is to pay people enough to take the issue of money off the table.

  • Why innovation bonuses don’t work and what you can do about it!
  • Why people blog, share ideas, write software, and give it away for free?
  • What happens when the profit motive becomes unhitched from the purpose?

This video beautifully summarizes why people like you and me get up early in the morning, head to Starbucks to blog on weekends (even when you are in another city) and go out of our way to give our best ideas away.

If you can spare the 10 minutes watch this video (3 millions others already have!).

You can watch more Dan Pink here at TED.

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