C-Suite Network™

Tapping the Formidable Power of Intrinsic Motivation

by Evan Hackel

Intrinsic motivation, at its core, is the drive to engage in work beyond external rewards; it’s about finding joy, satisfaction, and value in the task itself. This sense of internal fulfillment fuels individuals to perform their best, not for a pay raise or a promotion, but because they genuinely enjoy what they do and find it meaningful. This contrasts with extrinsic motivation, driven by tangible rewards or avoiding punishments. Both have their place in an organization. However, research has consistently shown that when employees are intrinsically motivated, they produce higher quality work, exhibit greater creativity, and have higher levels of job satisfaction.

Building an Intrinsic Motivation Ecosystem

Creating an environment conducive to intrinsic motivation is a central element of Ingaged leadership. The core of this ecosystem rests on three pillars: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.


Autonomy is about giving employees control over their work decisions. This sense of freedom is a powerful motivator. When employees feel they have agency, they take ownership of their tasks and become dedicated to producing quality results. Autonomy fosters a sense of trust between leadership and staff, reinforcing the belief that employees are competent and capable. Implementing autonomy might mean giving teams the freedom to decide their work methods, allowing flexible work schedules, or entrusting individuals with significant projects.


Mastery refers to gaining comprehensive knowledge or skill in a subject or task. An Ingaged leader should encourage continuous learning and skill development. This could involve facilitating access to professional development courses, encouraging knowledge sharing within the team, or creating a work environment where making mistakes is seen as a part of the learning process. As employees gain mastery, they derive satisfaction from their growth and competence, which further fuels their intrinsic motivation.


A sense of purpose, understanding how one’s work contributes to the broader organizational goals, is a crucial element of intrinsic motivation. It involves showing employees the “big picture,” how their work is essential in the grand scheme of things. To foster a sense of purpose, leaders should regularly communicate the organization’s mission and vision and articulate how each team’s efforts contribute to these objectives. When employees perceive their work as meaningful and impactful, their passion and motivation are kindled intrinsically.

About Evan Hackel

As author, speaker, and entrepreneur, Evan Hackel has been instrumental in launching more than 20 businesses and has managed a portfolio of brands with systemwide sales of more than $5 billion.  He has spent most of his career in the franchising and cooperative space. He has consulted with some of the largest and smallest franchises and cooperatives in the world.  He is the creator of the Ingaged Leadership concept.

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