longer version: I have known Dan Pink just over seven years. In 2002 we
were both designated by the Center for Association Leadership as
Visionaries. As a result, we spent a little time together addressing
executives and met for coffee a couple of times. It has been a pleasure
to watch him take the world stage through his writing and speaking.
It’s been a win-win-win: his audience enjoys it, he deserves it, and
the world needs it.
His first best-seller, Free Agent Nation: the Future of Working for Yourself,
alerted us to the decline of the Organization Man and brought us
face-to-face with the replacement model: people of all stripes striking
out on their own, forging their destiny along with their income. He
spotted this trend years ago, wrote about it in 2002. It remains
relevant and an excellent read.
In 2006 he gave us, A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the World.
This runaway best seller (WSJ, NYT, Washington Post, BusinessWeek)
describes the new world that is rising up around us along with the core
traits of the creative personalities who are today’s most successful
activists, entrepreneurs, economists, trend spotters, and provocateurs.
Just a few days ago he released the next in his series of culture-changing books. It is another jewel. In Drive
he has taken on the essence of human nature and pointed us toward what
really works, which is not what is mostly put into widespread practice.
Further, if we pay attention to what Pink has found and relayed, we may
just have a shot at the creativity and motivation necessary to address
the world’s toughest problems.
Here is what is remarkable about
Pink: he does his homework impeccably and then writes about what he
discovers in ways that have the power to transform how we act. Most
important, he does this in entertaining and provocative ways. This
means he actually has a good chance of reaching many people and
changing the way things are done, improving widespread results. Pink is
a social activist par excellence. Drive does not disappoint.
As I write this, I am literally sitting in an aisle of Politics & Prose in Washington, DC, where Dan is speaking to a standing room only crowd. It is the local stop on his ambitious book tour. The crowd is sprinkled with Washington movers and shakers, some of our regional intellectual treasures. Jeneanne Rae, standing next to me, raises her hand and asks Dan, “How
many people in the world today are living in work systems or
relationship systems that are in healthily motivating systems, where
they are fostering their bliss?“
He answers, “It’s hard
to say, but data recently came out that says 55% of people are
dissatisfied at work. One of the things we know is that traditional
management is very good at getting compliance, but terrible at getting
engagement. It is interesting to note that while we see engagement
plummeting in the workplace, we see that it is rising elsewhere, for
example, in volunteer activities.“
As he fields questions,
one example after another tumbles out of his mouth. Each is both
startling in its simplicity, yet powerful in impact. He is ripe, ready
to share his discoveries.
Pink says tonight, “There is this
notion out there that human beings are essentially lumps, that if we
didn’t have carrots and sticks, we would sit around doing nothing. I
don’t believe that. That is not human nature. We are active and curious
right out of the box.
“If we go back to our nature, we
will do more extraordinary things – if we could tap this at work, we
could fill our lives and our world with exceptional achievement. More
and more successful companies are not only profit maximizers, they are
purpose maximizers! This is the kind of thing that can make this world
Pink is right. That is what will happen… after everyone reads his book. So, what are you waiting for?
has consulted for leaders in over 50 world-class organizations that
include Shell, World Bank, Peace Corps, Marriott, Prudential, Project
Management Institute, and NASA. His next book, Getting Change Right: How Leaders Transform Organizations from the Inside Out, will be published in May 2010. Visit his other blogs, GettingChangeRight.com, helping leaders with change, and FreelanceFortune.com for techniques on how to succeed as a free agent. Read him in the Washington Post On Success. Follow Seth on Twitter and learn more about Seth’s consulting at VisionaryLeadership.com.