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The Carrot Principle: How the Best Managers Use Recognition to Engage Their People, Retain Talent, and Accelerate Performance [Updated & Revised] (Har


by Adrian Gostick (Author), Chester Elton (Author)

Book Description

Got carrotphobia? Do you think that recognizing your employees will distract you and your team from more serious business, create jealousy, or make you look soft? Think again.The Carrot Principle reveals the groundbreaking results of one of the most in-depth management studies ever undertaken, showing definitively that the central characteristic of the most successful managers is that they provide their employees with frequent and effective recognition. With independent research from The Jackson Organization and analysis by bestselling leadership experts Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton, this breakthrough study of 200,000 people over ten years found dramatically greater business results when managers offered constructive praise and meaningful rewards in ways that powerfully motivated employees to excel.

Drawing on case studies from leading companies including Disney, DHL, KPMG, and Pepsi Bottling Group, bestselling authors Gostick and Elton show how the transformative power of purpose-based recognition produces astonishing increases in operating results--whether measured by return on equity, return on assets, or operating margin. And they show how great managers lead with carrots, not sticks, and in doing so achieve higher

* Productivity
* Engagement
* Retention
* Customer satisfaction

The Carrot Principle illustrates that the relationship between recognition and improved business results is highly predictable--it's proven to work. But it's not the employee recognition some of us have been using for years. It is recognition done right, recognition combined with four other core traits of effective leadership.

Gostick and Elton explain the remarkably simple but powerful methods great managers use to provide their employees with effective recognition, which all managers can easily learn and begin practicing for immediate results. Great recognition doesn't take time--it can be done in a matter of moments--and it doesn't take budget-busting amounts of money. This exceptional book presents the simple steps to becoming a Carrot Principle manager and to building a recognition culture in your organization; it offers a wealth of specific examples, culled from real-life cases, of the ways to do recognition right. Following these simple steps will make you a high-performance leader and take your team to a new level of achievement.

From Publishers Weekly
Gostick and Elton, consultants with the O.C. Tanner Recognition Company, have made a career out of promoting the idea of employee recognition as a corporate cure-all. (Their previous books include Managing with Carrots, The 24-Carrot Manager and A Carrot a Day). Here, they cover familiar ground, showing how many managers fail to acknowledge the special achievements of their employees and risk alienating their best workers or losing them to competing firms. They advocate creating a "carrot culture" in which successes are continually celebrated and reinforced. Dozens of recognition techniques include the obvious ("When a top performer is going on a particularly long business trip, upgrade her ticket to business class") to the offbeat ("Hire a celebrity impersonator to leave a congratulatory voice-mail message on an employee's phone"). But the authors pad the pages with unsurprising survey results, the umpteenth recapitulation of Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs and long anecdotes of questionable relevance (e.g., three pages about Charles Goodyear's rubber-vulcanizing technique in order to introduce the notion that a transforming force—like employee recognition!—can produce surprising results). Gostick and Elton's philosophy is appealing, but could have been explained in a long magazine article. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Do your people know they're appreciated?, November 16, 2008
By Nathan Barrera (Chicago)


Many business managers whine about bad worker morale, high turnover, and the like but they do little about it, and even less to try and understand the causes. In The Carrot Principle, leadership experts Adrian Gostic and Chester Elton tap a ten-year, 200,000-employee study to prove the all-around benefits of constructive praise and meaningful rewards. They persuasively demonstrate that powerfully motivated employees can spark radical improvements in every aspect of your business.

Another book I strongly recommend because it has worked wonders in my company for improving leadership skills and employee morale is The Emotional Intelligence Quick Book

Important Stuff in Depth, but Nothing New, August 1, 2007
By Walter H. Bock "Wally Bock - Author, Blogger,... (Charlotte NC)


Here are the big ideas from this book.

Positive consequences, such as praise and recognition, are great tools for encouraging people to try new things and to continue desired behaviors. They send a message about what managers value.

In work teams where people say they have been praised recently, productivity, morale, and measures of engagement are more likely to be high and people are more likely to stay with the organization.

In teams where people say they have not been praised recently, productivity, morale, and measures of engagement are more likely to be lower and people are more likely to want to leave.

Companies with high productivity, morale and engagement and low turnover are more profitable.

Managers rate themselves higher on giving praise and recognition than their subordinates rate them.

There are no breakthrough, thought-leader ideas here. There is nothing really new.

The jacket blurb implies that this is based on exciting new research. It's not. It's based on research by the authors' firm that reinforces other research, including Gallup, Blanchard, a boatload of academic researchers and my own study of top performing supervisors. So if you're looking for new or breakthrough stuff, you don't have to buy the book and you don't need to read any further.

That doesn't mean that you won't get value from the book. The points the authors make are worth making again and again. Praise in all its forms is the most powerful and most underused tool for growing great, engaged teams.

Because the book is devoted, essentially, to a single idea, you get lots of depth on that idea. Some of those are just small insights.

On page 84, the authors make the point that in service industries, the perceived value of the product is tied to the behavior of the person that the customer comes in contact with. I knew this at some level, but seeing it in print got me to reflect on it and what it means.

Other things are more substantive. The authors provide details on different types of recognition: Day-to-Day; Above and Beyond; Career; and Event. They offer forms and lists and charts.

If you haven't read much about the power of praise and recognition this is a good place to start. The book covers most of the basic research, puts it in context, and gives you tools for putting it to use.

Remember that the authors wrote this book to sell their services and products. Sometimes they try way too hard to stretch their single bed blanket of product over the double bed of the subject. Sometimes they struggle to name things "carrot" or paint them orange, when simple description would do just fine.

If you're looking for a tool to use with managers at our company or in your peer group to increase the amount and effectiveness of legitimate praise, this is a good book to buy and use. You may also want to investigate the authors' other products.

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