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Motivation: Key to Creativity

January 1, 2010

A motivated workforce is a creative workforce. However, innovation and creativity cannot exist in an atmosphere of apathy. Over the past few years, many REALTOR® associations have been very motivated by the desire to survive as membership has declined. This motivation helped us all become more creative, as the Game Changer programs show (see p.14). What’s the saying? “Necessity is the mother of invention.” It sure is. In these difficult times, we have found new ways to cut costs, provide services, and help members. However, our recent creative motivations are just a temporary jolt of energy and cannot be sustained in the long run. Unless, that is, we establish innovation as a way of doing business in our industry.

Lately I’ve been reading the book Drive by Daniel Pink, in which he talks about Motivation 3.0, the new and improved way to motivate our workforce (both members and staff). According to Pink, we are in a new phase of motivation that has evolved over time. Motivation 1.0 was primitive man’s instinct to simply survive: find food, stay warm, and don’t get eaten by a saber-tooth tiger. As societies formed, man developed a second drive,
Motivation 2.0, which was based on carrot-and-stick incentives.

For the past decade, Pink believes, we have been entering into Motivation 3.0, thanks to the new open-source, collaborative business model. There are three driving forces within Motivation 3.0 for today’s worker:
1. Autonomy—the desire to direct our own lives and work;
2. Mastery—the urge to get better and better at something that matters; and
3. Purpose—the yearning to do what we do in service to something larger than ourselves.

Two examples cited in the book are Wikipedia and the popular Web browser Firefox. Both of these products were created by talented volunteers from all over the world who were motivated by these principles.

The real advantage of Motivation 3.0, in my opinion, is what I’ll call Creativity 3.0. To meet the complex challenges of today, we can no longer rely on sticks and carrots to motivate our organization. Instead, we need to trust our committees and employees by allowing them to self-direct their work; provide them with the resources and support to enhance their abilities; and find and communicate a purpose for our organization that is greater than money or self-preservation. If we do these things, we will unleash a powerful creative force capable of tackling whatever issues arise.

It is impossible to cover all of the concepts in Daniel Pink’s book in these few words, so please read it yourself. If you do, you will be able to start unlocking the power of Creativity 3.0 and solve tomorrow’s challenges.

— Dave Phillips, RCE, CAE
2010 AEC Chair

CEO, Charlottesville Area
Association of REALTORS®, Va.
434/817-2393, Dave@caar.com