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

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  878 ratings  ·  86 reviews
The Carrot Principle: How the Best Managers Use Recognition to Engage Their Employees, Retain Talent, and Drive Performance
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published January 2nd 2007 by Free Press (first published March 20th 2001)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
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 ·  878 ratings  ·  86 reviews

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Jon(athan) Nakapalau
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: management, favorites
Excellent book on how to 'feed' your employees the carrots they need to grow - instead of constantly showing them the stick of discipline.
May 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
See downloadable forms at

When recognition is considered effective, managers:
1) Have lower turnover rates
2) Achieve enhanced business results
3) Are seen as much stronger in the Basic Four areas of leadership:
a) goal setting
b) communication
c) trust
d) accountability

Goal setting:
- My manager gives me measurable goals to achieve

- I can rely on my manager to answer my questions
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
Very inspiring
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
Quality book for any manager/leader of teams. Simple acts of recognition CAN make a huge difference in an employee’s performance and trust in an organization. While I’ve heard of much of this before, I still found the book full of great ideas/quotes. Will be a book I recommend to struggling leaders. Key excerpts below:

- Scientists have known the secret of accelerants for decades, adding them to speed up chemical reactions, achieving results more quickly. Accelerators work the same wa
Kevin Hanks
May 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kevin by: Brian
I gave this book 5 stars because of the first several chapters. There it describes the underlying principle of the entire book: that setting well thought-out goals and then rewarding behavior that supports those goals leads to achieving those goals. It was brilliantly written, and I think if more people lived those principles, the world (especially the professional world) would be a much better place. The authors started to lose me towards the end of the book, when they went into the application ...more
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book does an outstanding job of explaining the problem faced by all managers - how to have happy, satisfied, engaged employees who give their all and contribute to the organization's success - and offering the solution. Recognition. Done properly and with the right foundation in place, recognition is what has the biggest impact on the employees. This book explains why, using data and anecdotes from research, without feeling dry or technical. Then it goes further, providing specific and prac ...more
This business advice sounds like some parenting advice that I received years ago--Focus on the positive and ignore the negative. Reward the behavior that you want to have repeated. It works with kids, so it should work with adults. I like this book a lot!
Gene Babon
Dec 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: leadership
Nearly four out of five employees who quit their jobs cite a lack of recognition as a key reason for leaving. If you are a business leader, or aspire to become one, this book offers practical guidance on how to effectively lead your workforce.

Here are the two things your workers want most:

~ career/learning development opportunities
~ recognition

Failing to acknowledge and support your workers leads to low morale and turnover. In a competitive business envi
Michael Loveless
Mar 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Carrot Principle is an excellent book for managers and a helpful book for anyone who is a leader in any sense (teacher, coach, parent, etc.) Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton argue that competent managers can use recognition as an accelerator that helps spur people on to a greater quality and quantity of work. They makes a strong case, using various studies to prove their point. The best thing about the book is how specific it is about the use of recognition. The authors tell the qualities of ...more
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The first addition of Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton’s The Carrot Principle convincingly demonstrated the relationship between rewards/recognition and results. This second addition, through additional data provided by Towers Watson, provides even more proof that feedback and recognition are powerful tools for engaging employees and achieving higher levels of productivity.

From my work as a management consultant, it is clear that managers do not recognize and reward people as much as
Aug 20, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great premise, proof and application.

1. Recognition is the 'relationship bridge' between management and talent that seeks to achieve (pg 68)
2. 4-Quads of Engagement/Satisfaction (drives turnover): Hi/Lo 14%; Hi/Hi 40%; Lo/Hi 20%, Lo/Lo 26%.
3. Building Blocks of Recognition: Day-to-day, Above-and-beyond, careeer and celebration recognition. (pg 100)
4. Predictors of Engagement:
a. Recognition > Opp & Wellbeing > Engagement
b. Communication > Trust > Engageme
John Graham
Dec 10, 2011 rated it liked it
This book provided some great points and thought provoking ideas. While I'd recommend it to anyone looking to up their engagement level through recognition, I can't say I enjoyed every chapter.
With any business related book now, it seems that the first few chapters are spent explaining the data and why you need what the book is talking about. I've never enjoyed those chapters because if I'm reading the book, I obviously already want the information so I don't need to be "sold" on it. So sk
Aug 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting book regarding recognition in the work place. I was an interesting take on the little expense it is to recognize your employees and how far that recognition goes to help improve a business. An insightful, interesting read. Recognition isn't hard, but it's not a normal human habit either. I recommend anyone read this book who manages employees or is in charge of a team or class.
Jan 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
I gave this book five stars because it provides the data to back up everything heard on Manager Tools related to one-on-ones, feedback, delegation and coaching. Someday after I have a year of blow out results I plan to pull out this book and use the numbers in here to put together my 'how I killed it' presentation.
Jan 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This genial book tells us that we should recognize our employees to bring out the best in them, and increase the productivity of our companies. That's not surprising, but what is important about this book is that it proves what we instinctively know to be true. Lots of research and examples reinforce the basic idea that people should be nice to each other to succeed.
Apr 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
1. Clear goal-setting-align w/ bigger purpose small daily actions, meaningful job, values hard-wired into decisions and policies, optimistic future. Career dev of Individual in connection to company goals.

2. Noble purpose.

3. Accountability

4. Trust

5. VIP – employee appreciation, value impact personalization
Jul 23, 2007 rated it really liked it
Another one I picked up at the public library. It was in the New Books area, and the title sounded catchy, so I picked it up. Definitely a book more managers should be reading and acting upon.

Here is the note I made about it on my personal blog:

Kim Brown
Sep 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Probably the most actionable book on leadership I have read. Cant wait to start practicing the Carrot Principle!
Tyler Dick
May 12, 2018 rated it liked it
I read it specifically for my Rewards and Recognition project at work. For that initiative, it was useful for some of the nuts and bolts of what I was working on. For the average reader, I would say it's probably not a great read.
Iain Hamill
Good summary on the importance of knowing how to motivate staff, and specifically why recognition and award are often better than pay.
Jun 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Good book describing, how important for people to be recognised for their everyday work
Kathy Saunders
Feb 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Same thing over and over. Good ideas though.
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended for new management.
Barry Davis
Subtitled “How the Best Managers Use Recognition to Engage Their People, Retain Talent, and Accelerate Performance,” this book begins by telling the story of the accelerator (heat) that Charles Goodyear discovered to turn rubber into a worldwide phenomenon. They tout recognition as the accelerator for business, basing their Carrot Principle on a 10 year study of 200,000 managers and employees.

I was prepared to discount this book to some degree, as I saw recognition as the Type X (extrinsic) mot
Jul 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
First, let me clarify that most people will probably like this book because it it likely true for most people. Also, the production of this audiobook was great. The authors read it themselves and took turns reading passages. It was very easy to follow and nice to listen to hear their passion for their topic.

So, why a two star rating? I disagreed with their approach on motivating people. They mentioned their research said a majority of people like motivation and the best way to do this is by usi
Eric Nelson
Mar 18, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-but-unowned
The problem with The Carrot Principle is its assumptions. The authors look at the current vocational landscape, filled with dissatisfaction, lack of motivation, and pining for other jobs and conclude that these are problems management can solve. Sure, management can make them better by with goal setting and better communication�and then the glorious carrot. But the authors are mistaken to pin our workforce problems on a lack of goals, talk, and carrots. What if your company�s goals have no intrinsic valu ...more
Oct 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Pretty interesting book. I recognized some of the feelings that I have as an employee that come with low recognition. The author states that very few managers actually get this right and from all the places I have worked I would say this is true. It always seems that people that deserve recognition never seem to get it, but people that self advocate generally due get public recognition even when they don't deserve it.

Maybe Gostick needs to write a book called "The Carrot Coop: An employee's gui
First of all, I would not recommend the audio book. One of the authors/narrators pronounces "process" and "project" with the long "o" sound, which is really annoying. For example: "PROH-ject", "PROH-cess". There were some other mispronounced words throughout. I tried to finish the CDs, but with about 1 1/2 CDs left to go, they gave the excellent advice of bringing in fortune tellers to somehow boost employee morale/show recognition for hard work. That was when I realized, once and for all, I'd h ...more
Rick Austin
Helped me see where I may be lacking and what my team needs from me. Not a lot of new techniques but they are nicely packaged. What is most interesting to me are the results of their surveys and the impact valuable recognition techniques have upon a companies ability to execute and excel at what they do.

If you are a manager, especially a new manager, you need to read this book.
Jun 21, 2011 rated it liked it
I can see why this book is very much a hit at my work- it takes something nebulous like recognition and boils it down to charts, numbers and formulas. We like charts, numbers and formulas.

I thought some of the motivation advice was a bit dated compared to the advice in Drive by Daniel Pink. Solid, but it felt more like going through motions without necessarily understanding why they worked.
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“The fact is that 79 percent of employees who quit their jobs cite a lack of appreciation as a key reason for leaving. Sixty-five percent of North Americans report that they weren’t recognized in the least bit the previous year.” 0 likes
“The simple but transformative act of a leader expressing appreciation to a person in a meaningful and memorable way is the missing accelerator that can do so much and yet is used so sparingly.” 0 likes
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