Podcast # 7: An Interview with Dan Pink

In the last episode of the Growing Leaders Podcast, we discussed why adults must prepare students to transition well (based on this blog post). In today’s episode, we share an interview with Dan Pink, author of A Whole New Mind, Drive, and To Sell is Human.


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Episode Summary

A Whole New Mind – The research behind the right and left hemisphere of the brain.

  • Right Hemisphere – Tasks that are big picture, context, synthesis
  • Left Hemisphere – Tasks that are logical, linear, sequential, analytical, step-by-step

Both sets of tasks are necessary, but simply engaging the left-hemisphere is not enough. Turns out, engaging the right-brain tasks are what turn out to matter the most.

Teaching the Next-Generation

  • Students are right-brain upload in their style.
  • Schools are download left-brain.
    • Today, most schools teach in a left-brain style.
    • “We need to prepare kids for their future and not my past” (High-School Superintendent)
      • His past was primarily preparing for these left-brain abilities.
      • Their future is having those left-brain abilities, but also acquiring these right brain abilities.

How to Teach the Next-Generation

  • Challenging certain orthodoxies, adopting new practices, and endless experimentation to see what works (homework in class, lecture on YouTube)
  • Give students real problems to solve

Drive – A book on what really motivates people.

  • Motivation 1.0 – Based on our biological urges or survival
  • Motivation 2.0 – Based on rewards and punishment
  • Motivation 3.0 – Based on things that are interesting and challenging
    • Mastery – The desire to get better at something
    • Autonomy – The desire to direct our own lives.
    • Purpose – The desire to be connected to a cause larger than themselves.

How to Lead the Next-Generation Motivation 3.0 Style

  • Recognize that if you really want them to be engaged, you can’t control them.
  • Offer them some amount of freedom over what they do and how they do it.
  • Offer them a healthy amount of feedback.

Questions to ask as you lead the Next-Generation

  • As you lead and as you teach students, are you typically more left-brain than right-brain in your delivery?
  • If you are more left-brain in your delivery, how can you start to engage the right-brain of your students? (music, images, etc)
  • As you lead, are you calling students to be a part of something that is very important and almost impossible?
  • What is it that is behind your leadership of students?


1. National Leadership Forum – Sign up today at This year’s theme is Marching Off the Map: Charting the Course for the Next Decade of Student Development.

2. – Join our monthly online mentoring resource. Today is the last day to take advantage of the best pricing we’ll offer all year. Click here for more info.

3. Check out Growing Leaders. If you’re new to the podcast or blog, visit our website to learn more about the resources Growing Leaders offers to equip those who lead the next generation.

What topic would you like for us to address on the next episode of the Growing Leaders Podcast? Leave a comment below.

Podcast # 7: An Interview with Dan Pink