I almost didn’t write it down. At the FIGT conference Diane Endo was giving a presentation on the challenges of Midlife Transition for accompanying spouses and partners – pretty much a custom-made topic for me at the moment. She mentioned the name Daniel Pink and said he had a lot interesting stuff to say on motivation. For some reason I made a note of his name, although at the time I thought “Oh no, another motivational guru!” But yesterday I went to his website and this led me to this video of him speaking. I was fascinated. What he was talking about was the SCIENCE of motivation – cold, hard facts – not airy-fairy theories. It’s quite a long presentation, in two parts, but don’t be put off – he’s an entertaining speaker and his subject matter is compelling.
You may wonder how this relates to expats. Two ways occured to me.
His main point that cash (above and beyond a fair amount) does not motivate employees should be food for thought for those involved in putting together expat packages. Many of the “soft” benefits discussed at the FIGT conference – intercultural training, spousal career advice, educational counselling, for example, might actually be cheaper, or at least more effective in ensuring assignment success than hardship allowances, locational uplifts, annual bonuses, etc.
During this next presentation it occured to me that a lot of the skills he talks about encouraging, as they are so necessary in today’s business world, the right brain abilities of artistry, empathy, inventiveness and big picture thinking, these are exactly the traits held by successful expats and commonly found in TCKs.