The Carrot Principle.

Author:Wagner, Libby

The Carrot Principle, by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton, Book, 2007, Free Press, $21.

I'd like to say I'm not one to gush, but those who know me would challenge me on that one. I am one to gush about something I really like or really believe in--but I am picky!

My latest recommended reading for leaders, managers, and supervisors is The Carrot Principle: How the Best Managers Use Recognition to Engage Their Employees, Retain Talent, and Drive Performance by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton of O.C. Tanner. It's was released by Free Press in early 2007, and you can order it at right now (just click the title above)!

I devoured my review copy while I criss-crossed the U.S. during a crazy travel schedule this autumn. Loved it. Loved it!

Gostick and Elton base their findings on an extensive research study in collaboration with the Jackson Organization to examine the role that recognition plays in accelerating the bottom-line elements for organizations.

The Carrot Principle is based on a foundation of the "Basic Four" of good managers: setting clear goals, communicating openly, building trust, and holding people accountable, all of which I find to be the differentiators of great leaders. However, according to Gostick and Elton, recognition is the accelerator that creates the greatest impact on long-term results, especially when it comes to productivity, creativity and retention. This is what sets the book apart from others.

They spend significant time discussing how to create a "carrot culture" and the long-term impact of doing so. Importantly, they note that recognition should be a normal, integrative part of an organization, not an add-on or an afterthought. They include many ideas and tools for managers and supervisors, including ideas about keeping a recognition diary or tracking to make sure you're creating both an awareness for impromptu, informal recognition and a systematic methodology for more formal types of recognition.

One of my favorite chapters is "Carrotphobia," which is chock full of the reasons that some managers and leaders cite for not recognizing their people for good work performance, e.g., it's their job, they'll expect it, they only want cash--and why these are...

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