Maximizing employee autonomy, mastery, and purpose leads to better performance and personal satisfaction. While this is most applicable to knowledge work, C&S Grocers demonstrated how this can make a big difference in warehousing.
If the goal is to have a self-directed company, what levers can managers use to motivate employees? Neel Doshi and Lindsay McGregor argue that there are six reasons that we do anything.
Intuitively this makes sense. Direct motives make a bigger different than indirect motives. Then why do businesses primarily tap into indirect motives? It's likely because it's easy to assume that compensation and performance should be highly correlated. But, not all aspects of motivation are intuitive. Dan Pink explains in his TED talk that higher incentives often lead to worse performance.
Motivation is complicated. Managers can learn a lot from experts in fields like education.