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

Adrian Robert Gostick, Author, Chester Elton, Author . Free Press $21 (214p) ISBN 978-0-7432-9009-8

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.)

Reviewed on: 11/13/2006
Release date: 01/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
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