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

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  431 ratings  ·  57 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
Kindle Edition, 270 pages
Published (first published July 19th 2011)
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Roy Klein
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
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.
David Phillips
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
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
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.
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 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
"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
David Janzen
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
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
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
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
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

Liang Gang Yu
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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.
Apr 03, 2015 Jorge added it
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.
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
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 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Sunit Jindal
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
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.
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.
Steve H
Using insights from diaries kept by study participants in various businesses the authors determine what helps and what hinders workflow and personal fulfillment. Aimed at people who supervise/manage others and with a bit of relevance to team members who might not manage others, the brief takeaway is that nothing succeeds or breeds success like success and our goal is to do whatever we can to make success possible for ourselves and others. Remove obstacles, foster creativity and affiliations, cre ...more
Peter Kahn
In the same league as "Peopleware" this book builds theories from evidence and provides scientific backing for what seems self evident.

Happy engaged people do better work and a key driver of engagement is a series of small wins. A little progress every day results in better productivity and creativity.

This is why scrum and especially Kanban have the impact they do. It also explains the benefit of the pomodoro method and even continuous integration (feedback from the build/the-work rewards the
What factors create meaningful work? Hint: it's not all in your head.
Making progress in meaningful work is the most powerful stimulant to great inner work life (p.74). That is the core of this book, based on "12,000 event of the day journal narratives" (actually and to be more precise 11,637 according to the extensive methodology in the appendix).

Powerful and interesting idea, but this book contains way too much fluf. One longread article could have done the trick. Some boxes (food for thought) are interesting diversions, but on the whole this book is too repetit
the main idea is great and the study itself is pretty interesting, but it could've been shorter...
Ken Dyck
The amount of research and analysis that went into this book is truly impressive. And the conclusions are surprising: regular tangible progress towards a goal is measurably one of the most important factors in acheiving success. I enjoyed reading it, but -- perhaps because I am already regularly making progress at my job -- I didn't find that it inspired much of a change in my professional life. Still, I'd heartily recommend it to managers and those looking to improve their workplace.
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“Our research inside companies revealed that the best way to motivate people, day in and day out, is by facilitating progress—even small wins. But the managers in our survey ranked “supporting progress” dead last as a work motivator.3” 1 likes
“In light of our results, managers who say—or secretly believe—that employees work better under pressure, uncertainty, unhappiness, or fear are just plain wrong. Negative inner work life has a negative effect on the four dimensions of performance: people are less creative, less productive, less deeply committed to their work, and less collegial to each other when their inner work lives darken.” 0 likes
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