Book Review – Drive by Daniel Pink

Posted 24/11/2016

Drive - Daniel H Pink - Canongate

ISBN 978-1847677693

The world of Procurement faces a series of challenges when thinking about issues of drive and motivation, measurement and reward. It cuts across us in a number of ways. We are often measured on performance in areas such as price variation; we have personal measures of delivery perhaps on projects completed or addressed or new ideas brought forward; we measure supplier performance for OTIF and quality and price reductions. Within all that measurement and carrot and stick rewarding, many of us recognise that the concept is, somehow, flawed. 

Daniel Pink explores this in Drive by introducing us to the concept of progression in how we are motivated. Recognising early, survival based motivation for humans as Motivation (approach) 1, he explores Motivation 2 (the carrot and stick we are all familiar with) and then introduces Motivation 3 as a concept. 

Rooted somewhere in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, Motivation 3 is described as a three-part approach, utilising concepts of autonomy, mastery and purpose. When these three facets are used as the motivational framework, higher levels of achievement can be attained as individuals are more able to contribute. 

At a simple level, this seems to resonate with our broader experience: well-motivated individuals do produce better outcomes, and that often happens when a loose framework is available which contain ideas and ownership of approaches, alongside a sense of a shared common purpose. 

He also draws out the conflict which can exist when Motivation 2 approaches collide with Motivation 3. Again, this is something we see in an environment where advanced, thoughtful procurement approaches are being put in place where the core measures are still based on purchase price variance. Inevitably, the drive to meet a simple figure produces conflict when the more advanced approaches produce a broader spread of nuanced improvements, often with far greater impact. The larger prize is lost to meet the shorter term carrot and stick needs. 

Although the implications for this at an individual level can be seen, there is room for further exploration of what this might mean in a business to business environment, where the same Motivation 2 concepts are used as performance monitors (although arguably this could be seen as Motivation 1. - perform or be removed as a supplier). 

When we are looking at developing strategic relationships (proper ones - genuine contribution to strategic direction, as opposed to being a 'big' supplier), the direction of travel is always towards Motivation 3, seeking joint working for the greater benefit of both organisations through a loosely structured and guided framework. When this works well, the results are generally spectacular, in unexpected directions. 

In our work on Category Management, we can see that the best results here occur in scenarios which can be described as Motivation 3: a category manager, developing mastery of their subject and of category management, using the process and concepts as they want to adapt them, seeking the best outcome for the organisation at a broad level. When this is done, the outcomes are transformative. 

Drive is a well written book, exploring an area with some challenge within it and delivers both concept and suggestions for practical adoption. The only downside is the frequent summing up, which can start to feel like the current approach in documentary TV where the volume of summary outweighs the volume of input. In the case of Drive, we'd suggest working through that as the insights it provides are very worthwhile.


Tagged by topic: Book Reviews , Category Management , Procurement Leadership

  by Allison Ford-Langstaff

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