In our work in green marketing and sustainability, we’re often defining what motivates people. When it comes to doing intrinsically good things, most Earthlings aren’t motivated by saving the planet, conserving water, reducing air pollution, or donating to Goodwill because it’s a great cause. Consumers are motivated by doing something that’s easy, and by saving money. Greening the planet or helping put people back to work is added value.

Motivation in the office is equally puzzling. Economic theorists point to money as a motivator. However, there are three other drivers that trump cash when it comes to driving brilliance in the market. These drivers are autonomy, mastery and purpose, according to this fascinating video by RSA.

The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

I was recently introduced to RSA, the 250-year-old Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. Ok, so maybe I’m a late comer to this English think and “do” tank. Perhaps you are, too?

RSA helps create social change through incredible storytelling. They take their free lectures by leading experts, like Dan Pink’s presentation on what motivates people, and create compelling stories online through the use of a cartoonist to make their points.

Their observations are often groundbreaking, and made even more powerful because they are told in the simplest of ways.

What motivates you in your work, especially following a long 4th of July weekend? Is your company driven by a “Transcendent purpose?” And how might these insights help you understand the motivation of your customers?

The truth may surprise you.