What really motivates people?

A lot of businesspeople and members of other organizations -- especially when they identify as conservatives -- see employee incentive as directly proportional with pay. It's conventional wisdom. But is it true? Well, yes and no. Some interesting discoveries have been made by those who have investigated the question and found out what really motivates people to think creatively and productively. You'll be surprised.

What does this look like in the real world? Read the testimony of ex-Google engineer James Whittaker, who says the Google he knew and loved has vanished:

"My last three months working for Google was a whirlwind of desperation," wrote Whittaker, who headed an engineering team for social network Google+. "The Google I was passionate about was a technology company that empowered its employees to innovate. The Google I left was an advertising company with a single corporate-mandated focus.

"Google once gave its engineers the time and resources to be creative. That experimental approach yielded several home-run hits like Chrome and Gmail. But Google fell behind in one key area: competing with Facebook."


Sign of the times
Having been in the business world for nearly forty years, this unfortunately seems to be the growing trend; companies that started out with a clear mission and identity of service are opting for the sorry legacy of mercenary greed and egregious profiteering, often at the expense of those who are the true face of their companies, namely the employees who perform the necessary functions to keep them operating. The often uncritical justification of this is one of the main problems that I have with neo-conservatism.

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