“Intrinsically motivated people are more creative because they engage more deeply with the work. Imagine a task you have to do — say, an important marketing problem you have to solve at work — as a maze you need to get through. Most business problems have multiple solutions that would work, multiple exits from that maze. Often, there is one clear, straight path out of the maze — the standard solution that everyone uses for this type of problem. If you’re extrinsically motivated, perhaps by a looming deadline or fear of a negative evaluation, you’re likely to take that safe path. The solution works, but it’s boring; it doesn’t move things forward. But if you’re intrinsically motivated, you love the hunt through the maze for a more interesting — and likely more creative — solution.” Read more here.
THE BUSINESS CASE FOR SUSTAINABILITY & A WORK PLACE OF MEANING
Today I had lunch with a very dear friend and mentor of mine who forwarded me this gem stone of an interview with Ray Anderson, Founder and Chairman of InterfaceFLOR. In it, Mr. Anderson explains the remarkable business case for sustainability. Interface’s bold vision “mission zero” is the company’s promise to eliminate any negative impact it may have on the environment, by the year 2020. To me, Anderson’s leadership approach is a beautiful example of how a strong work culture in which employees feel appreciated, happy and meaningful is instrumental for innovation and (in this particular case) sustainability.
Martin Seligman, the “founding father” of the science of positive psychology, suggests that the most lasting state of happiness is “the meaningful life.” In this state, individuals derive a positive sense of well-being, belonging, meaning, and purpose from being part of and contributing back to something larger and more permanent than themselves (e.g. social groups, organizations, movements, belief systems). In the interview, it becomes obvious from the story Anderson tells about the factory worker James that he’s not only happy to be at his work place, but also finds real meaning in the perhaps simple, but important task of driving carpet rolls from A to B in the factory. Because of this, he takes real ownership in the “mission zero” goal which, in turn, sets InterfaceFLOR on course to making good on its promise.
Ultimately, this story shows that designing company goals (in this case “mission zero”) with employees’ happiness in mind, can not only help solve a pressing issue such as reducing a firm’s environmental foot print, but also improve people’s (work) lives and well-being in the process.
In 1932-1933, while working on what would become his first published novel, Tropic of Cancer, Miller devised and adhered to a stringent daily routine to propel his writing.