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The Carrot Principle: How the Best Managers Use Recognition to Engage Their People, Retain Talent, and Accelerate Performance

The Carrot Principle: How the Best Managers Use Recognition to Engage Their People, Retain Talent, and Accelerate Performance

3.3 19
by Adrian Gostick, Chester Elton

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Stick Management is out. Carrot management is in! The Carrot Principle offers proven strategies to help recognize and motivate your valued employees.

Since its original publication in 2007, the New York Times bestseller The Carrot Principle has received rave reviews in The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, and The New York Times


Stick Management is out. Carrot management is in! The Carrot Principle offers proven strategies to help recognize and motivate your valued employees.

Since its original publication in 2007, the New York Times bestseller The Carrot Principle has received rave reviews in The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, and The New York Times, and has helped a host of managers to energize their teams, and companies to dramatically boost their business results. The book was even adopted by the prestigious FranklinCovey International training and consulting group for its leadership training. This updated edition couldn't come at a better time, as the economic downturn requires us all to come up with creative and cost-effective ways to stimulate growth and productivity.

Revealing the groundbreaking results of one of the most in-depth management studies ever undertaken, The Carrot Principle shows definitively that the central characteristic of the most successful managers is that they provide their employees with frequent and effective recognition. With independent results from HealthStream Research, 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. These managers lead with carrots, not sticks, and in doing so achieve higher:

- Productivity

- Engagement

- Retention

In a new chapter, Gostick and Elton report on the results of an extensive study, conducted by leading research authority Towers Perrin, that confirms the extraordinary effectiveness of the Carrot Principle approach all around the globe.

Drawing on case studies from leading companies including Disney, DHL, KPMG, and Pepsi Bottling Group, Gostick and Elton show how the key to recognition done right is combining it with four other core traits of effective leadership. Gostick and Elton walk readers through exactly how to use the simple but powerful methods they have discovered all great managers use to provide their employees with this effective recognition, which can be learned easily and will produce immediate results.

Great recognition can be done in a matter of moments -- and it doesn't take budget-busting amounts of money. Following these simple steps will make you a high-performance leader and take your team to a new level of achievement.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Gostick and Elton are the undisputed thought leaders in employee motivation and recognition. In The Carrot Principle, they not only provide the statistical proof that recognition will drive business results, but show how great organizations are using these tools to inspire performance." — John Mullen, Global Chief Executive Officer, DHL Express

"The Carrot Principle is a must-read for those who look to accelerate the performance of their organization with an engaged workforce. Gostick and Elton are right on the mark that the power of recognition is the key to winning with your people and your customers." — Ron Nelson, Chairman & CEO, Avis Budget Group, Inc.

"To succeed in today's ultracompetitive workplace, it is imperative that you have highly motivated people. The Carrot Principle provides managers with an exceptional tool to recognize people for their contributions to your success while outlining a process to perpetuate a culture of recognition throughout your entire organization." — Corey A. Griffin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Boston Company Asset Management LLC (A Mellon Financial Company)

"The Carrot Principle not only shows you why, but also how to use recognition and appreciation. This book, as part of your overall operating strategy, will help in obtaining and maintaining a highly motivated workforce that will drive your business toward success." — Harry Paul, coauthor of Fish! A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results and Revved! An Incredible Way to Rev Up Your Workplace and Achieve Amazing Results

"The Carrot Principle should be required reading for every CEO and aspiring CEO, manager and aspiring manager, every business school student in the world, and every basketball coach. This is the premier prescriptive book on recognition, revealing not only why, but also providing a road map about how." — Scott O'Neil, Senior Vice President, Team Marketing and Business Operations, National Basketball Association

Many business managers whine about bad worker morale, high turnover, and low productivity but fail to even imagine effective corrective measures. In The Carrot Principle, leadership experts Adrian Gostic and Chester Elton tap a ten-year, 200,000-employee study to prove the all-around benefits of constructive praise and meaningful rewards. As in their hit book The 24-Carrot Manager, they persuasively demonstrate that powerfully motivated employees can spark radical improvements in every aspect of your business. A carrot approach that any rabbit/worker can appreciate.
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 2006 Reed Business Information.

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We were gratified to see The Carrot Principle catch fire when it was first published in 2007. Readers responded to the fact that the book offers scientific proof of the power of recognition — providing more than just the case studies and the 'how to's' we presented in our previous books. We were also pleased to see the idea receive positive press in venerable business publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Fortune.

The book has now been translated into twenty languages and has sold strongly globally. But what we find most gratifying is to know that, in this economic downturn, the Carrot philosophy has never been more relevant. It has been incorporated into thousands of organizations worldwide by leaders who realize they will make their organizations stronger, more productive and profitable if they focus on their employees and acknowledge their great work. These executives are testifying to the results their companies are seeing.

Michele Cox of the large health care provider Quest Diagnostics recently shared the positive improvement her organization has seen in employee engagement, and spoke about how well their managers have responded to training in the Carrot approach. "We are a large company with 2,000 locations and 40,000 employees, and our key focus is in reducing turnover and increasing engagement. We made the switch from cash awards to gifts and instituted training, starting with just one hour of recognition training for our managers. They wanted more. Recognition has really begun to integrate into our culture and engagement is increasing by the minute."

Mark Servodidio, executive vice president for Avis Budget Group, reported that the training his company has done in the Carrot philosophy has also paid off. He explained that, for each point Avis can reduce employee turnover, the company saves $3 million. Mark pointed out that the company has found that its locations with the highest employee engagement scores have the lowest employee turnover. "And our top performing locations," he said, "have seen an increase of almost 200 percent in the use of our recognition program since 2004."

Recently we were thrilled to pique the attention of one of the world's foremost leadership training companies, FranklinCovey, which in 2008 adopted The Carrot Principle book and course in their global training network.

And yet several years ago, as we stood at the back of an empty hotel ballroom in New York City, we honestly didn't know how the Carrot idea would be received.

The Public Unveiling

That September night we paced behind the rows of meticulously aligned chairs. We didn't speak to each other although we had a thousand questions in our minds. The next morning would be our inaugural Carrot Culture Summit. We had invited executives from some of the largest and most powerful corporations in the world to attend. We had no idea whether anybody would show up, and even if they did, whether they would be willing to share the positive experiences they'd had with the Carrot books. Our goal was to create an environment of peers at a senior management level, sharing and interacting on subjects of employee recognition. There was the very real possibility that the whole idea was a big mistake. Maybe we should remove a few rows of chairs, we thought.

The next morning as the Carrot Culture Summit began, the ballroom was packed. As we scurried to find extra chairs, we sensed a buzz in the room, an enthusiasm for these ideas that surprised us. The attendees took their turns addressing the summit with the results they were witnessing in their organizations. The message and tools presented in the Carrot books had struck a resonant cord with them — a message that was changing the management of these corporations.

Over the past few years we have been pleased to see the attendance at these annual Carrot Culture Summits soar, where hundreds of CEOs, COOs, senior leaders, executives, and vice presidents of organizations share with their peers how recognition has changed their culture and strengthened their managers' ability to lead.

Yet despite the growing popularity of the Carrot movement and the strong results some companies are seeing, we know there are many more companies and managers out there who have not yet adopted the approach. Our biggest frustration is that we continue to encounter managers who think they are too busy to recognize, who think this is a soft business skill that doesn't pay dividends, or who simply don't believe recognition will work with their employees in their unique culture.

Even when presented with the considerable evidence of the improvements in business results that using the Carrot approach brings about — results presented in detail in this book — many managers remain hesitant. A recent study we conducted showed that a staggering 74 percent of leaders worldwide still don't practice recognition with their employees.

The reasons respondents gave for their reluctance fell into four categories, with roughly the same number of managers in each group:

- Positives 26 percent. Those who believe in recognizing employees and do it with or without the company's permission.

- Fearful 20 percent. Those who instinctively lean toward recognition but are apprehensive of acting without permission from upper management.

- Controllers 22 percent. Those who might be inclined to recognize employees but who resist because of their overly analytical natures — nervous of the imprecise aspects of recognition such as inequity or jealousies.

- Negatives 32 percent. Those who do not believe at all in recognition, many vehemently opposing it on the basis that it is a waste of time.

The study offered more proof, however, that the managers who do practice recognition get better results. Those who had positive views enjoyed the highest employee trust levels and have the most productive teams, and those with negative views were the most unproductive managers with the smallest number of engaged employees. They also had the lowest trust and communication ratings from their employees.

If this book is for anyone, it is for that 74 percent of managers who still have not embraced the power of recognition. In these pages we address some of the most common questions we've had from business people about whether or not recognition really works, and have included a new chapter on one of the biggest questions: whether it is as effective with employees around the rest of the world as it is in North America. In that chapter we report on the results of a global study we commissioned from global professional services firm Towers Perrin, showing that, yes, the impact of recognition is truly as effective in Europe, Asia, South America, Australia, and the Middle East as it is in America. It's not industry, career-level, or even culturally specific; it works powerfully with any person or group, anywhere on earth.

And, since this book can contain only a portion of what we've learned over the years, we have also created a wealth of material online at carrots.com/resources. These free downloadable items include a white paper that succinctly outlines the business benefits of recognition for senior leaders, audio interviews on how-to recognize from some of the world's most successful CEOs, 52 more day-to-day recognition ideas — added to the 125 presented in the book — and a few surprises.

Thriving in Hard Times

In any turbulent time, it is more important than ever for managers to make use of the powerful tool of recognition. It has never been more vital to engage our employees and recognize their efforts, which, as the data we present in this book shows, is the single most powerful means of retaining the best employees and making all of your people as productive as they need to be to grow market share.

If those are your goals, we urge you to read on. We assure you that, as so many others who have read this book and implemented its advice have attested to, The Carrot Principle will produce dramatic results in your organization.

January 2009

Copyright © 2007, 2009 by O.C. Tanner Company

Meet the Author

Adrian Gostick is the New York Times bestselling coauthor of The Carrot Principle and The Orange Revolution, which are sold in more than 50 countries around the world. He is a founder of the global training and consulting firm The Culture Works, with a focus in Recognition, Teamwork, and Culture. Learn more at TheCultureWorks.com or AdrianGostick.com

Chester Elton is coauthor of The Carrot Principle and The Orange Revolution, a popular lecturer, and an influential voice in global workplace trends. He is a founder of The Culture Works and advises the leadership teams of numerous Fortune 500 firms on cultural issues. Learn more at TheCultureWorks.com or ChesterElton.com.

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The Carrot Principle: How the Best Managers Use Recognition to Engage Their People, Retain Talent, and Accelerate Performance 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Judging by the results of two recent polls, business owners, executives and managers have plenty of worries. Roughly three-quarters of the U.S. workforce is actively seeking other employment and 85% of the world's employees are not motivated enough to put in extra effort at work. Loyalty and job satisfaction are clearly problems. But Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton strongly believe they have the solution. In analyzing the results of a groundbreaking 10-year study, the authors conclude that employee recognition is the key to boosting staff morale and involvement. Their book explains why managers who are strong in four basic categories ¿ 'goal setting, communication, trust and accountability' ¿ invariably have happier employees and get better business results. The authors support their theory with first-hand accounts from a variety of workers and organizations. The book even includes a chapter with 125 really cool recognition ideas. We believe this book should vault to the top of any manager's must-read list, especially if you find it hard to give praise where praise is due. Highly recommended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an exceptional book on how managers and executives can use recognition to retain top talent, improve teamwork, and improve performance. Recognition of employee performance, accomplishments, and contributions to the team and company has a tremendous impact on the positive influence and profit outcome for a company. A must read for every manager in every company. Gary Perman Professional Headhunter Perman Technical Group
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Aqua fell in from the sky.
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