Customer Review

35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Important Stuff in Depth, but Nothing New, August 1, 2007
This review is from: The Carrot Principle: How the Best Managers Use Recognition to Engage Their Employees, Retain Talent, and Drive Performance (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.

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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