Effective Leaders Stay Up-To-Date

Thought evolves, the world changes, and research keeps on happening.

Are you going to “stick with what works” or “change with the times”?  Neither solution is right all the time, of course, so how do you decide?

Stay well-read, and keep thinking, and talking, and networking, and make up your own mind.

Last week, we in the Des Moines area were treated to a visit from Dan Pink.  He’s been around for a while, and you can read all about him at his site, so I’m not going to give you a bio here.  I will tell you why reading his work (particularly Drive, his latest) is important for leaders, though.

Besides effective communication, “how to motivate” seems to be the most common topic that clients and leader-friends want to discuss.  It’s so elusive, folks seem to think; how can I possibly motivate students/workers/members?  Rewards and punishments? Lots of lamenting, and gnashing of teeth.

In Drive, Pink lays out the most relevant research on motivation from the last 50 years.  He summarizes it in a nice 20-minute TED talk.  If that’s too long for your attention span, there’s an animated graphic 10-minute version, too.

Check out one of those links above, or better yet, get the book.  It’s silly for me to summarize it for you here when you’ve got those resources to check out.  You’ll learn quickly, though, the big point:

There is plenty of research on what motivates people, and there is a huge gap between what science has learned and what businesses (and schools) do.

If you haven’t even heard of Dan Pink or Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, this stuff might blow your mind.  Seriously.

And this is just one important book of the last few years.  Keep up on your reading to stay current.  (I’ve got suggestions here.)  Stretching and growing — a commitment to self-improvement — is essential for effective leaders.

As though we’re old friends…

Me gushing while the gracious man signs 8 books.  Guess what everyone’s getting for Christmas this year!

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