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The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  604 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
What really sets the best managers above the rest? It’s their power to build a cadre of employees who have great inner work lives—consistently positive emotions; strong motivation; and favorable perceptions of the organization, their work, and their colleagues. The worst managers undermine inner work life, often unwittingly.

As Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer explain in Th
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published July 19th 2011 by Harvard Business Review Press
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First In, Last Out by John SalkaThe Progress Principle by Teresa AmabileInfluence by Robert B. CialdiniMade to Stick by Chip HeathThinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Books That Every Leader Should Read
1st out of 14 books — 2 voters
Drive by Daniel H. PinkThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. CoveyThe Art of Startup Fundraising by Alejandro CremadesCoaching Agile Teams by Lyssa AdkinsThe Lean Startup by Eric Ries
Agile Coaching
60th out of 92 books — 68 voters

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Roy Klein
Jan 01, 2012 Roy Klein rated it it was ok
I've decided to stop reading this book halfway through.
The reason is that the book contains a small amount of simplistic advice, almost no practical methods for implementing this advice, and a large body of narrated stories of people who the writers researched. The narrative is interesting at first, but grows tedious and uninformative very quickly. I suppose the writer didn't want to throw to waste all the body of text she collected from her tests subject, but that doesn't make that body of tex
Sep 25, 2012 loafingcactus rated it it was ok
One of the main points of the book is a by-the-way in chapter 8 that isn't even mentioned in the chapter title. What doofs! So here's the deal: work nourishers, catalysts and a sense of progress matter. If you are manager, don't leave those things to chance. Instead, make a checklist and make sure those things happen for your people. There, now you don't have to read the book.
Aug 07, 2012 Fred rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Was prompted to read this book by review by Seth Godin. Primary concepts are pretty much a no brainers once they are explained. I recommend it because it brings light to the common sense we know, but need reminded that we do know. Plus the idea that creativity has many facets hopefully will empower a reader.

It continues to amaze me that current management dogma has largely missed the boat on these precepts. It is somewhat repetitive, but that seems to be a hallmark of current business related li
David Phillips
Jun 20, 2012 David Phillips rated it it was amazing
This is a great book for leading other people. It helps those leading others to see what really matters to others. It helps focus our efforts at inspiring and motivating others and to help those we lead make progress along the way to meaningful work and a healthy inner life. Based on a year of research with multiple companies, this book is worth the leaders time and reflection. The more meaningful the work, the more healthy our inner life and the more progress we make in our work, the more effec ...more
Mar 01, 2012 Amy rated it liked it
Not bad. It's research, so it takes a while before we get to any practical bits. Once we did get into the meat of it though, there were lots of insights into how managers can cultivate productive work in their teams. I wish I had read this five years ago.
Sep 26, 2011 Melvin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: agile, productivity
An enjoyable reading addressing how positive and negative work environments arise and how they affect people's creative problem solving.

This book is based on a study conducted in a set of 7 companies in 3 different industries in which knowledge workers and professionals working on complex problems collected and reported daily diary entries about their inner work lives, i.e., their perceptions, emotions, and motivations during the work day. Although most questions asked for numerical ratings, the
Oct 19, 2012 Scott rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Managers and project team members.
Recommended to Scott by: Custom internet search
This book is a psychological look at the human side of management. Rather than measuring employees and productivity with simple numbers or behavioral psychology, the authors conducted a survey of employees at work to judge cognition, perception, and emotion. The employees were from numerous businesses, all with different management styles, goals, and operational environments. One theme was that employee[s invisible and inner perceptions, emotions, and motivations effect productivity. Utilizing d ...more
Aug 06, 2014 Jeff rated it it was amazing
"The Progress Principle" states simply that progress in meaningful work is the single greatest factor when it comes to creating high functioning teams and work environments. Progress in meaningful work serves as trigger for positive perceptions, emotions, and motivations. This creates a virtuous feedback loop, greatly increasing workplace performance.

The tenor of the book echoes that of "The Happiness Advantage" and "Drive", suggesting that by supporting progress, providing positive catalysts, a
Barry Davis
Feb 16, 2016 Barry Davis rated it liked it
Subtitled Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work, this book is an excellent example of what I like to call “uncommon sense,” insights that seem to be patently obvious but are simply not observed. Describing the powerful impact of what the authors call Inner Work Life, they quote – “Managers can’t help but influence subordinate’s inner work lives; the only question is how.”

The authors’ research involved reading and analyzing 11,637 diaries from 238 individuals in 26 te
David Janzen
Jul 31, 2015 David Janzen rated it it was amazing
This was an outstanding book. It is really relevant to trying to build an organization centered around people that provides meaningful work for team members to excel at. I loved this book. I’ve already recommended it to a few other friends and former classmates and colleagues.

The central topic of the book is a review of the author’s discoveries from a study across nine or ten different organizations that had team members and managers log their work lives each day. They then reviewed the diary en
Mar 01, 2015 Jane rated it liked it
Shelves: motivational
What really sets the best managers above the rest? It’s their power to build a cadre of employees who have great inner work lives—consistently positive emotions; strong motivation; and favorable perceptions of the organization, their work, and their colleagues. The worst managers undermine inner work life, often unwittingly.

As Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer explain in The Progress Principle, seemingly mundane workday events can make or break employees’ inner work lives. But it’s forward moment
John Pestka
Oct 20, 2012 John Pestka rated it it was amazing
Excellent and insightful. The authors make it incredibly clear that managers must realize and recognize that making progress in meaningful work is the top motivating factor for employees, leading to, as they call it, superior inner work life. I appreciate that it's another book backed by lengthy, significant research, this time following employees at various companies for months on end and asking them to do daily journal entries. Another book I highly recommend for anyone that supervises/manages ...more
Bibhu Ashish
Feb 12, 2015 Bibhu Ashish rated it really liked it
I heard the audio book while commuting to and from the work. This book not only was enjoyable to listen but also gave me a lot of food to think about how to have a great motivated team.I would suggest all the people having any managerial responsibilities and dealing with people to read or hear this book once. The principle which this book is based on is a time tested one. Though a lot of people are aware of the principle but sometimes it is easier said than done to adhere to the principle of hel ...more
André Bueno
Feb 18, 2015 André Bueno rated it liked it
Shelves: business
Good book though I felt it was a bit redundant and long winded.


Inner work life has to do with how an employee feels about working somewhere and which direction you are shifting theor feelings toward their goal. Do you make them feel good about being apart of the organization?
Three components of inner work life: emotions, perceptions, and motivation.

Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation
Happiness boosts creative problem solving that can longer and build up over time

Leslie Shreve
This is an extremely insightful book because of all the research that went into it. The stories based on the nearly 12,000 journal entries that were collected from 26 different companies really shed light on what creates a really healthy and productive inner work life. They say that "inner work life" for professionals includes "consistently positive emotions; strong motivation; and favorable perceptions of the organization, their work and their colleagues." Forward momentum - *progress* - is wha ...more
Jan 22, 2016 Eryc rated it it was amazing
Well-researched, well-conceived, and well-written, The Progress Principle should be required reading for every manager of people and every leader of organizations. Amabile and Kramer's research demonstrates the important of learning how to support and facilitate progress by nourishing and catalyzing productive behaviors while minimizing setbacks, inhibitors, and toxins in the workplace. For anyone who still thinks motivation is all about carrots and sticks, rewards and punishments, this book sho ...more
Liang Gang Yu
Feb 01, 2015 Liang Gang Yu rated it liked it
Shelves: great-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lenny D
Oct 26, 2015 Lenny D rated it it was ok
I talk about employee engagement a lot for work, so I'm always interested to see original takes on the subject. I read this book on the strength of a review that said Amabile and Kramer use a ton of evidence to support their management theory. They do, but in a way that's not particularly interesting.

The book is a string of anecdotes that the authors use to draw out a sensible, if messy, management theory that they call the progress principle, I guess. The book is the product of a large-scale st
Feb 10, 2013 Jozef rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dit boek geeft een zicht op vele jaren veldonderzoek naar wat motivatie drijft in bedrijven. Het is duidelijk dat vooruitgang en kleine overwinningen op de werkvloer zeer belangrijk zijn. Volgens de auteurs bestaan er "voeders" die ervoor zorgen dat progressie verder gestimuleerd worden en "vergiften" die progressie tegenhouden. Het is belangrijk om deze elementen zo te bespelen dat de groep in een positieve spiraal van progressie terechtkomt, want eenmaal zover wordt het een zelfversterkend eff ...more
Soren Maleficus
Aug 16, 2015 Soren Maleficus rated it really liked it
Fantastic leadership book on how to carve out a positive work environment for your staff despite external forces working against you that are beyond your control. I learned much from this and plan to begin applying many of it's recommendations immediately to foster a positive "inner work life" in the team I manage. I'm looking forward to testing some things out and seeing how well they play out. Highly recommend this book.
indispensable source to know how to male a great organization or at least a great team

I liked the book a lot, because it explain with detail what factors improve the mood of the employees, and which factors put obstacles for them.
Every manager and team leader should get a copy, and every organization should make It recoomended reading.
Jan 28, 2016 Melanie rated it liked it
Like so many books. It is a shame that if you want to get to the content, the important stuff, you have to read the whole story.

Told in a narrative comparison, this book was not written for fast paced readers.

The ideas were interesting but I think they could have easily been broken down into a 60 page book.

Motivators, perceptions and feelings.
Feb 13, 2015 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: leadership-books
I loved the concepts presented in this book. It provides some great, practical advice for managers backed by solid research. Any manager or leaders could benefit from understanding the benefits of progress, nourishers and catalysts.

As much as I loved the concepts, I just couldn't love the book. In a sense, I think the book's greatest strength is also its greatest weakness. While I appreciated the solid research behind this book, the examples provided became really distracting. I couldn't keep st
May 07, 2015 Daniel rated it really liked it
Shelves: audible
The book attacks questions about leadership and management by zooming in on the daily activities of knowledge workers. This provides a snapshot of what employees in various roles reflect back about their work day-to-day. The authors then look for patterns and present their findings, often supported by common sense business philosophy or 3rd party examples. The book is very academic in its approach. This isn't a bad thing but it might turn off some readers. There is enough here I feel any one in ...more
Sep 24, 2014 Cyndie rated it it was ok
Recommended to Cyndie by: Goodreads
A book with a great central idea that was just painful to read, even as an audiobook.

The research done is based on daily diary entries from employees at a variety of companies. As they shared stories from those diary entries, I felt like half the book was just people complaining about their work day which was a drag.

I felt like the advice given on how to implement these ideas was much too generic. It focused more on "being" different than what to "do" differently.

I would love to see a version
James Kenly
Feb 23, 2014 James Kenly rated it really liked it
Another in a series of good reads in the "business meets social science" space. Operating very much in cooperation with Multipliers (Liz Wiseman) and DRiVE (Dan Pink) and aligned with The Future Of Management (Gary Hamel) and the work of Jim Collins. Amabile articulates two important observations: 1) That "inner work life" is a significant driver for both happiness and productivity, and 2) that the ability to perceive progress in meaningful work is the critical element of inner work life that im ...more
Bryan Sebesta
Dec 26, 2015 Bryan Sebesta rated it liked it
A really good book. The basic thesis examines the inner work life, and how small wins help us psychologically in ways that boost productivity dramatically. It's a very actionable book, and one that helped me examine why I was feeling burnout in the job I had at the moment of reading it.
Sunit Jindal
Jul 12, 2014 Sunit Jindal rated it it was amazing
this book helps in understanding human mentality. what are the thinks as professionals we need to consider for us, our sub ordinates. at the same time this book provides a window in to the life of people who already faced challenges at job, may it be regarding work or colleagues.

a must read for all
Jan 19, 2015 Jose rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Progress is the single most important fact that will keep you and your team moving forward. This book goes over a long study with several companies and teams. The result is a reallt deep narrative about everything that matters to keep progress.
Jun 20, 2015 Michaelmonson84 rated it really liked it
Great research and powerful insights into human motivation...however, it reads like a case study from Business School. If you can plod through, it's worth the effort, but it will require some plodding.
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“If management generally overrides people’s decisions, they quickly lose motivation to make any decision, which severely inhibits progress.” 2 likes
“key to leveraging the progress principle: giving people meaningful work.” 1 likes
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