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The Carrot Principle: How the Best Managers Use Recognition to Engage Their Employees, Retain Talent, and Drive Performance Hardcover – January 2, 2007

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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.

"The Carrot Principle: How Great Managers Use Employee Recognition"
An Essay by Adam Gostick and Chester Elton
For organizations that do it right, it's a bit like discovering gold in your backyard. Employee recognition, long considered a benefit that costs money, can actually be a management tool that makes money. At first blush, the idea is counter-intuitive. As leaders, we've become accustomed to viewing recognition programs as a cost of doing business. But employee recognition is evolving. A groundbreaking research study of 200,000 employees, unveiled in our new book The Carrot Principle, presents a new paradigm: Applying employee recognition techniques within a context of goal-setting, open communication, trust and accountability, (what we have come to call the Basic Four) accelerates the impact of all of these critical management skills.

Continue reading "The Carrot Principle: How Great Managers Use Employee Recognition"

More to Explore

The 24-Carrot Manager

Managing with Carrots

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.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; 1 edition (January 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743290097
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743290098
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,105,722 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Walter H. Bock on August 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Hardcover
More than 10 years ago, an organization that I headed, Leading Division Presidents 100, looked at the question of how to improve employee motivation and effectiveness. From that research, it was clear that improving employee recognition could be an important element among many. Since that time, I've looked in vain for a book that described how to implement such a recognition program. I'm pleased to say that The Carrot Principle fills that void. Congratulations to the authors.

The authors begin by making the case for why recognition works in making organizations more successful:

1. Where employees feel more recognized, return on equity is higher (2.4 percent in the lowest quartile compared to 8.7 percent in the highest quartile. (This finding did raise a question in my mind -- why are the companies in this research study all so unprofitable in ROE?)

2. Where employees rate managers highly for recognizing employee contributions, customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, and retention are usually higher.

3. People with high work motivation almost all (94.4 percent) say that their managers are effective at recognition.

4. 79 percent of those who quit jobs cite lack of appreciation as one reason for leaving.

How much are companies spending that provide good employee recognition? Basically, it's about $1,000 a year per employee. Many of the employers cited in the book report feeling that they enjoy economic payoffs that are more than 20 times that cost.

The authors offer a Recognition Effectiveness Model on page 178 that captures the essence of how they see the cause and effect working:

1. Where employee recognition is higher, goal setting, communications, trust, and accountability are higher.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By K. Kauai on February 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The Carrot Principle contains some common sense TRUE principles that can help any organization at any level. Just by trying to individualize recognition as outlined in the book we are already seeing payoff in engagement within our organization. I'm looking forward to reading some of the other books by Gostick
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Note: The review that follows is of the updated edition (published on April 7, 2009) that includes results from a major global study in which more than 200, 000 managers participated.

Various surveys conducted among millions of workers indicate that "feeling appreciated" is of great importance to them. In fact, it is ranked #1, #2, or #3, together with "doing work that has value" and "working for an employer I respect." Nonetheless, believe it or not, a recent study conducted by the O. C. Tanner Company indicates that 74% of leaders worldwide still don't practice recognition with their employees. In this book, Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton explain why there is reluctance "to embrace the power of recognition." At this point, I need to make a distinction between formal (institutional) recognition and informal (situational) recognition. Probably no other organization makes more effective use of formal recognition than does Mary Kay. With all due respect to pink Cadillacs, the fact remains that this company has identified hundreds of other ways to say "Well-done!" and celebrate outstanding performance.

With regard to informal recognition, I wish to share a personal experience that occurred when I arrived at a client meeting (it is a Fortune 50 company) and was being escorted from the reception area to the CEO's office by his administrative assistance. We walked past one office and I stopped, having noticed through the open door a framed "something" on the wall. It was the office of a senior vice president and he was not there. "Everyone notices that," she said. "Here, take a look.
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