“When I make a mistake I’m recognized 100 percent of the time; when I do something great, I’m not recognized 99 percent of the time.” – A complaint from a hotel industry employee identified  in The Carrot Principle.

At times it seems like books on leadership and management are a dime a dozen. Yet it is rare to find a book that deals with the traditionally warm and fuzzy areas of recognition and people management that actually tout the results of studies and delves into statistics. That is what makes The Carrot Principle different.

“I’ve come to realize success doesn’t come from being a powerful leader; it comes from leading powerful people.” – The Carrot Principle.

Based on a 10-year study of 200,000 managers and employees, The Carrot Principle’s central theme is that managers who provide frequent and effective recognition generated significantly higher levels of employee engagement, productivity, and retention. Of particular interest, however, is that recognition levels also have an impact on operating margins. This takes The Carrot Principle out of the fuzzy box and into the profit and loss one. What is quite startling about the results of the 10 year study is that the need for recognition by employees from their employers is a global requirement but that the nature of that recognition changes from country to country.

In a bid to seem like a serious business book, The Carrot Principle can at times be a bit on the dry side – we are talking statistics after all for the first couple of chapters, but the book more than makes up for it in the later chapters. Perhaps the most surprising thing about the carrot principle is that the book actually gives useful ideas and tools for implementing its suggestions.Charts, templates and lists and lists of suggestions are all here. My particular favorite section of the book deals with all the usual excuses that managers give for not recognizing their employees and knocks them down one by one – including budgeting and complaints from upper management.

If I have to pick a fault with the book it would be that it is very much written with the large corporation in mind. This, perhaps is not surprising given that O.C. Tanner, the appreciation consultants behind the  research for the book and its supporting documentation, are writing for their clients. However, this is a minor quibble in an otherwise excellent book and a superb set of tools.

(Clicking on the cover above will take you to the book’s Amazon page and contribute to my book buying habit / problem.)

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