We asked some of the attendees what they thought about this and here is what they said:
It makes much sense and aligns with modern thinking in how public education must change as well. However, I think you missed one additional element of intrinsic motivation. You say something to the effect of intrinsic motivation in the modern era is a function of autonomy, mastery and purpose. But what about aptitude? Not interest, that is already covered in the autonomy part, but aptitude. Aptitude as in what are you naturally good at. When aptitude and interest align you get a powerfully motivating combination that really compliments autonomy, mastery and purpose. Something to consider.
He speaks a strong case against money as a motivator of complex problem solving. Money works as a motivator for simple mechanical (non-cognitive) problems. Creative problems that require brain power and doing something that has not been done before demands for commitment. Dan says giving people Autonomy, drive to master the skill, and meaning purpose are superior motivators.
I feel that if companies can create and find a middle ground with the life coach they partner with (between intrinsic and extrinsic employees) they can maintain a very successful model. Possibly hire certain employees based on their desires to innovate and create new solutions to ambiguous problems in the company(flat, fair-wage) while hiring others to produce more focus-based, profit-oriented tasks(wage based on desire to perform). The two must fit their appropriate style or else be completely miserable.
I feel that the Tech world has really given a voice to intrinsic capabilities in the workplace. Their work environments are usually more open-ended and free to mindful thinking people. The real problem is that free enterprise around the world has to update and start building methods for greater success and projected growth. It all starts at the bottom level, at the employee and the feelings of relatedness and purpose. We want to do something that makes us feel alive and useful, inspiring.
He oversimplifies the issue in his zealousness, the same thing he's accusing business of doing (i.e. the "20th vs. 21st century mindset"). He also does what a lot of intellectuals do; he repackages old ideas into a seemingly new paradigm. Throughout history, many people of high intelligence, artistic vision/genius have been motivated by something higher than money or short term incentives. That modern science has confirmed this motivation in certain business people is nothing new.
Furthermore, he doesn't differentiate between the mindsets of different groups of workers. For example, the brunt of people working for Google or Microsoft would fit into the category of intellectual, highly self directed people. So, yes, for them to be motivated purely by incentive is draconian, especially now that new products require much more creativity and deep thinking. However, to try to motivate all employees this way is very naive. Pink needs to get out of his ivory tower and notice that the brunt of people in society do not have a "higher vision" and aren't self directed.
They would rather be given a simple task and told what to do rather than given free time to come up with new ideas. They still simply go to work to collect a paycheck so they can do the simple things that make them happy... socializing with friends, watching reality TV, partying, etc. These are people who would perform better with a narrow focus driven by material incentive. From a functional point of view, we need these people as much as we need the self directed visionary. If everyone were trying to come up with the next big idea vs. being content to carry out life's simple, mechanical tasks, we'd have a very dysfunctional society. Each individual must be motivated at his own level and pace which is something a life coach can help do.