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Book Review : The Carrot Principle Related Resources

The Carrot Principle
by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton
Review by C.S. Clarke, Ph.D.

How would you like to have a magic wand that made your employees' performance and productivity increase in leaps and bounds? That made those employees more creative? That made those employees more loyal? That made both you and your employees enjoy working together and for your company? That made those employees contribute significantly to a constantly growing bottom line?

Open the treasure-chest book called The Carrot Principle, and you'll find that magic wand inside.

The subtitle nicely presents the essence of the book: How the Best Managers Use Recognition to Engage The People, Retain Talent and Accelerate Performance. Indeed, that is exactly what the book does. It tells how. How to use the techniques of recognition effectively and with predictable results. Moreover, it shows how. With many interesting case examples. And, it has a 10 year study of 200,000 managers and employees to back it up.

Not only does The Carrot Principle teach the techniques of employee recognition, it also describes and teaches the four basics essentials of good management that first must be in place for recognition to be effective. The four essentials are: 1. Goal Setting; 2. Communication; 3. Trust; and 4. Accountability. Only after making their points about the necessity of management fundamentals forming a basis for recognition effectiveness do they go into the details of how to do recognition and why it works.

The authors' emphasis on the interrelationship of recognition and other good management techniques is one point that differentiates their approach from much of what you may have read before. You must have a basis for your employees to value and trust your recognition. That is critical. Another difference is their plan for a "carrot culture" based on building blocks of different recognition types: day-to-day recognition, recognition of one-time excellent performance (each time it happens, at the time it happens), recognition of career milestones (like hire date anniversaries), and celebration events (such as when a team project is completed.) The plan includes details of when, how and what kind of reward to use. Even better, the authors show how a "carrot culture" has been implemented without particular organizational support, within a single department, by a single manager. Of course, when results show how effective the techniques are, they start to spread throughout the organization. (If it is an otherwise worthy organization.)

If you've tried recognition programs in the past and found them ineffective, it will become clear to you why that happened once you've read this book. When you've finished, you will be confident that if you apply the principles of The Carrot Principle, you will be able to make a recognition program work.

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