The Carrot Principle

Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton, Copyright 2009 by O.C. Tanner Company, 235 Pages

Language: English, ISBN-13: 978-1-4391-4917-1


This book is predicated on the fact that there are four basic tenants for successful leaders: Goal Setting, Communication, Trust and Accountability.  Further, these four are essential but when paired with effective recognition (dubbed the “Accelerator”) they are incredibly augmented.  The book covers this basic premise, goes on to discuss the state of the things as based on the authors experiences and conclusions from various research projects, provides arguments for funding recognition, recognition suggestions (how to discover what is effective and then to pursue it), and wraps it up by discussing how new research suggests this is a world wide phenomenon with some geographic/culturally tendencies and research references.

The Smell Test

It gets a pass.  The beginning and end of the book is spot on and provide little reason to question the authors or their research.  In the middle it flags a bit and can come off a bit preachy and over-achieving in its recommendations.  The strong ties to research, even if it is somewhat dubiously tied to “Recognition” institutes gives it much credence than many other leadership books as it is based at least on some data and not just on the experiences of the author, a personal pet peeve of mine.

The Personal Reaction

This premise of this book is phenomenal.  Any leader who accepts the leadership role as “maximizing the output and well being” of those they lead could find this to book (idea) to be a breakthrough that helps them reach the next level of their leadership journey.  Throughout the book, many references are made about minimizing turn over and maximizing the potential that is already in house.  Specifically, its information on employee turnover and how it is likely the newest and brightest (and often the most insecure) that leave were eye-openers. If the middle was about 50% as verbose, that would be a huge plus, it was a challenge to read through the research results, which is something I would have likely skipped after a cursory look through had I not been reviewing the book.

Honestly, this was the first book that I have read in my studies at St. Thomas that I wanted to order another twenty copies off and give to all the managers, future managers and leaders that I know.  It is that good and succinct and resounds with me personally.   A simple idea and system are presented along with common roadblocks and speed bumps, examples of success stories and research to back it up.  It was like a condensed book form of much of Monson’s Human Factors class, which is high praise indeed.


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