Quick Interview with Dan Pink

Dan Pink, one of the 10 Most-Watched TED Talks of all Time and NYT and WSJ Bestselling Author of DRIVE will deliver a keynote at HR Summit and Expo this November.

In the run up to the show we catch up with Dan for a quick interview:

Q: Being essentially a morning person, you explore the notion of the right time and wrong time to get work done. Can you share some insight into that? Especially, the data of how some people can be more productive in the morning versus in the evening/afternoon?

DP:The first thing to understand is that timing is not an art. It is a science. We should be making our “when” decisions based on this rich, multi-disciplinary body of evidence rather than based on intuition and guesswork. When we look at the science, we find that most people move through the day in three stage: A peak, a trough, and a recovery. For most of us, the peak is early in the day — though for about 20 percent of us, the peak comes in late afternoon and into the evening. The key attribute of the peak is that this is the period when we are most vigilant. We’re best able to bat away distractions. That makes the peak the ideal time to do analytic work — work that requires heads-down focus and attention. (Examples: Writing a report, analyzing data, and so on.) So if we do our toughest, most analytic work during the peak — instead of squandering it with meetings and email — we will become much more productive.  

Q: You have spent a lot of time talking to people about change, and how businesses approach disruptive transformation and changing behaviors of employees organization-wide. What is the number one misconception about behavior change and transformation in business?

DP: That it requires making some grand announcement and pushing for major change. In fact, most organizations change more slowly and quietly through the accumulation of small wins. In many ways, we’ve overvalued “moonshots” and mammoth goals — and undervalued these small wins, which often come from the middle and bottom rather than the top. 

Q: What is the one learning you’d like your audience to take away – whether that’s about the disruptive change, business success, or motivation?

DP: That human beings have a mix of motivation. One of our drives in biological. We eat when we’re hungry and drink when we’re thirsty. That’s part of what it is to be human, but not all of it. We also have a second drive. In many circumstances, we do respond predictably to rewards and punishments. That, too, is part of what it means to be human. But it ignores that fact that we have a third drive. We do things because we like doing them, because they’re challenging, because they contribute to the world. The key is to have a three-dimensional view of motivation. 


Click here to find out more about the event or download the conference brochure here.