Should success be driven by intrinsic/extrinsic motivation?

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Should success be driven by intrinsic/extrinsic motivation?

Postby ChiefKiasu » Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:42 pm

I just read this article "If Steve Ballmer ran Apple" by Ben Thompson, and I thought it makes for a good summary of the conflicted objectives that seem to be at every strata of our Singaporean society today, from the policy makers in the government, to parents like ourselves.

Essentially, Ben postulates that if Steve Ballmer is to run Apple the way he did with Microsoft, Apple will be very successful and earn great returns for its shareholders. This is because he will get his employees to focus on dominating the industry and aggressively make lots of money for the company and themselves. Yet it will be for this reason, that Apple will lose its creativity and become irrelevant to the future of computing, just like what happened to Microsoft. To Ben, "a strategy that seeks to maximize revenue and profits – i.e. the sort of strategy at which Ballmer excelled – necessarily precludes the creation of significant new products."

In his opinion, companies like Apple and Amazon.com that focus mainly on making great products and impressing their customers, rather than to beat down their competitors and dominate the market, are much more relevant to their industries. Microsoft makes more money in a year than Amazon.com has in its entire existence, and yet Amazon.com is more relevant in the consumer market than Microsoft. He goes on to quote John Kay's observation on the sustainability of companies, that "any company that has optimized itself for its shareholders; extracting the value of a competitive advantage is profitable, until it isn’t. And then, creative destruction dictates the company, having shined so brightly, contracts and ultimately burns out."

While it is true that investing in Microsoft makes better sense from a profit perspective, Ben suggested that while "it’s hard to imagine living without Amazon, or Apple. It’s far too easy to imagine living without Microsoft."

There was a time when I was in civil service where my boss essentially told us to go for the lowest hanging fruit, to focus on quick wins and to abandon long-term research. The idea was to maximise returns for the current CEO, who will only be there for 3-5 years only, before being rotated to another agency for his tour of duty in Admin Service. This was exactly the Microsoft strategy. The short-term focus meant that the kind of work we do will have little chance to stand out amongst the crowd, since everyone else is working on the same thing. It is stressful to exist in a red ocean, and in the long-term, the organisation will become irrelevant.

In a sense, the findings by OSC survey, that the majority of Singaporeans prefer to trade off economic growth for a slower pace of life, does reflect the sentiments of a people who has lost its purpose. A heavy focus on extrinsic rewards can eventually usurp the purpose of why we do what we do. The reward itself (economic growth) becomes the driving factor, supplanting the hard-to-measure intrinsic reasons for why we exist (personal happiness, social well-being, appreciation of sensori-emotional values). When that happens, even if we make lots of money, we lose the meaning of life.

As parents, we have to ask ourselves whether we are imparting the right values for our children. If we focus on the need for them to get good grades, to our children, "getting good grades" will be the purpose of why they exist. This is as short-term as the Microsoft strategy - dominate the class, be the top dog, and enjoy the moment. Once there, they will have spend their time defending that pole position, while others may have moved on to other, and probably better, things in life.

If we help our children identify their passions, and support them in their life-long journey towards something that they are passionate about, we will be giving them the reason to live. Working on something that you like is not work. It is living.

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Re: Should success be driven by intrinsic/extrinsic motivati

Postby buds » Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:07 pm

ChiefKiasu wrote: When that happens, even if we make lots of money, we lose the meaning of life.


Not according to Bruno Mars. :lol:

ChiefKiasu wrote: As parents, we have to ask ourselves whether we are imparting the right values for our children. If we focus on the need for them to get good grades, to our children, "getting good grades" will be the purpose of why they exist. This is as short-term as the Microsoft strategy - dominate the class, be the top dog, and enjoy the moment. Once there, they will have spend their time defending that pole position, while others may have moved on to other, and probably better, things in life.

If we help our children identify their passions, and support them in their life-long journey towards something that they are passionate about, we will be giving them the reason to live. Working on something that you like is not work. It is living.


Nice.. Image

That's why be it being teachers or being parents, if we do it because we are passionate about how we do it not just the why we do it, we can live the life for the best reasons there is to live.

buds
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Re: Should success be driven by intrinsic/extrinsic motivati

Postby pirate » Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:09 pm

ChiefKiasu wrote:In a sense, the findings by OSC survey, that the majority of Singaporeans prefer to trade off economic growth for a slower pace of life, does reflect the sentiments of a people who has lost its purpose. A heavy focus on extrinsic rewards can eventually usurp the purpose of why we do what we do. The reward itself (economic growth) becomes the driving factor, supplanting the hard-to-measure intrinsic reasons for why we exist (personal happiness, social well-being, appreciation of sensori-emotional values). When that happens, even if we make lots of money, we lose the meaning of life.

The part I don't get is that if the majority of Singaporeans prefer to trade off economic growth for a slower pace of life, why are they not doing it at a household level? Why must it be done at a national level?

There are many ways for the majority of families to trade off economic growth for a slower pace of life. If they want better worklife balance, they can choose to take a less demanding job at a lower pay. Of course, then they may have to trade off on the size of their homes, owning a car, annual holidays, eating out in restaurant etc. If they want more playtime for their children, they can simply choose not to send their children to the 'top schools', or all sort of tuition or enrichment.

The question that bugs me is, why do those "majority of Singaporeans" expect other people to also have to run slower, just so they can "trade off economic growth for a slower pace of life"? Can't they just be content to run slower and see the other guys win the medals?

A cynical pirate would think that what they really want is to be able to run slower and still win the medals; and really what they want is to trade off economic growth for a lower pace of life so long as it does not affect their own relative economic status.

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Re: Should success be driven by intrinsic/extrinsic motivati

Postby buds » Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:17 pm

pirate wrote:The question that bugs me is, why do those "majority of Singaporeans" expect other people to also have to run slower, just so they can "trade off economic growth for a slower pace of life"? Can't they just be content to run slower and see the other guys win the medals?

A cynical pirate would think that what they really want is to be able to run slower and still win the medals; and really what they want is to trade off economic growth for a lower pace of life so long as it does not affect their own relative economic status.


The OSC participants to date do not represent "majority" of the Singaporeans. They may jolly well be representing the pirates (under-cover). :duck:

What's the sample size we are talking about here aniwaes?

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Re: Should success be driven by intrinsic/extrinsic motivati

Postby ChiefKiasu » Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:24 pm

pirate wrote:The part I don't get is that if the majority of Singaporeans prefer to trade off economic growth for a slower pace of life, why are they not doing it at a household level? Why must it be done at a national level?

There are many ways for the majority of families to trade off economic growth for a slower pace of life. If they want better worklife balance, they can choose to take a less demanding job at a lower pay. Of course, then they may have to trade off on the size of their homes, owning a car, annual holidays, eating out in restaurant etc. If they want more playtime for their children, they can simply choose not to send their children to the 'top schools', or all sort of tuition or enrichment.

The question that bugs me is, why do those "majority of Singaporeans" expect other people to also have to run slower, just so they can "trade off economic growth for a slower pace of life"? Can't they just be content to run slower and see the other guys win the medals?

A cynical pirate would think that what they really want is to be able to run slower and still win the medals; and really what they want is to trade off economic growth for a lower pace of life so long as it does not affect their own relative economic status.


Maybe the question was simply "Are you willing for Singapore to trade-off economic growth for a slower pace of life?" It may be a binary yes or no answer.

So if asked this question, how would you answer?

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Re: Should success be driven by intrinsic/extrinsic motivati

Postby Nebbermind » Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:30 pm

pirate wrote: The part I don't get is that if the majority of Singaporeans prefer to trade off economic growth for a slower pace of life, why are they not doing it at a household level? Why must it be done at a national level?


:offtopic: Can Chief give me email slacking@KSP.com? Slackingking@ksp.com also can!

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Re: Should success be driven by intrinsic/extrinsic motivati

Postby ImMeeMee » Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:33 pm

Good post, chief. Sometimes I think it boils down to how one defines success. It could be quite subjective.

PS. looking at your post, you may have to change the name of this forum?

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Re: Should success be driven by intrinsic/extrinsic motivati

Postby ChiefKiasu » Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:42 pm

ImMeeMee wrote:Good post, chief. Sometimes I think it boils down to how one defines success. It could be quite subjective.

PS. looking at your post, you may have to change the name of this forum?


Lol. It's just a name. And the people who post and share in our Forums are really the not-so-kiasu ones.

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Re: Should success be driven by intrinsic/extrinsic motivati

Postby pirate » Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:43 pm

Quick! Somebody go register bochapparents.com

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Re: Should success be driven by intrinsic/extrinsic motivati

Postby limlim » Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:51 pm

pirate wrote:
ChiefKiasu wrote:In a sense, the findings by OSC survey, that the majority of Singaporeans prefer to trade off economic growth for a slower pace of life, does reflect the sentiments of a people who has lost its purpose. A heavy focus on extrinsic rewards can eventually usurp the purpose of why we do what we do. The reward itself (economic growth) becomes the driving factor, supplanting the hard-to-measure intrinsic reasons for why we exist (personal happiness, social well-being, appreciation of sensori-emotional values). When that happens, even if we make lots of money, we lose the meaning of life.

The part I don't get is that if the majority of Singaporeans prefer to trade off economic growth for a slower pace of life, why are they not doing it at a household level? Why must it be done at a national level?

There are many ways for the majority of families to trade off economic growth for a slower pace of life. If they want better worklife balance, they can choose to take a less demanding job at a lower pay. Of course, then they may have to trade off on the size of their homes, owning a car, annual holidays, eating out in restaurant etc. If they want more playtime for their children, they can simply choose not to send their children to the 'top schools', or all sort of tuition or enrichment.

The question that bugs me is, why do those "majority of Singaporeans" expect other people to also have to run slower, just so they can "trade off economic growth for a slower pace of life"? Can't they just be content to run slower and see the other guys win the medals?

A cynical pirate would think that what they really want is to be able to run slower and still win the medals; and really what they want is to trade off economic growth for a lower pace of life so long as it does not affect their own relative economic status.


No choice.... being kiasu.. it's in the blood.. :evil:

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