The Progress Principle by Teresa Amabile & Steven Kramer - Book review

The Progress Principle

Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work

By: Teresa M. Amabile, Steven J. Kramer

Published: July 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 272 pages
ISBN-10: 142219857X
ISBN-13: 978-1422198575
Publisher: Harvard Business Press

"Management, when done well, can propel an organization toward success while enhancing the lives of people working within it. And when managers accomplish these two goals, their own inner work lives will be uplifted", write Edsel Bryant Ford Professor of Business Administration and a Director of Research at Harvard Business School, Teresa Amabile, and leading development psychologist, Steven Kramer, in their pioneering and thought provoking book The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work. The authors describe the importance of a happy and fulfilled inner life for employees, and how these engaged and empowered employees create a high performance and profitable company.

Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer recognize that conventional management thinking and practice is not effective in creating joy and engagement at work. Through their extensive research, involving hundreds of managers, the authors confirmed that managers have a fundamental lack of understanding of employee motivation. This failure grasp the true meaning of motivation was shared by managers at all organizational levels, and at locations all around the world. The authors discovered, through their research, that facilitating progress, even in small winning steps, resulted in an ever more engaged and motivated employees. Despite these findings in support of progress, the managers interviewed for the survey, ranked supporting progress the least important motivational factor.

Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer (both in photo left) present the case for nurturing and developing progress as crucial to a motivated workforce. The authors share their research findings as a guide to facilitating progress, regardless of its size or magnitude, as a key to employee motivation. Through developing an employee's inner life, managers will discover an enhanced external productivity boost. The study found that inner work life is so critical to a company's overall success, that neglecting the workforce's inner work life will lower the performance of even the best business strategy.

Because inner work life is so deeply influenced by events, both large and small at work, it's of paramount importance for leaders to recognize and improve the inner work life of everyone in the organization. The authors identified three key events that supported the inner work life of employees:

* Progress in meaningful work
* Catalysts as events that help project work
* Nourishers as events that uplift the spirits of people at work

For me, the power of the book is how Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer combine top level research results with practical and actionable concepts for building an employee's inner work life. The authors share their ground breaking research in an understandable and format that guides business leaders toward creating an organization that both engages and empowers employees. The recognition that engaged employees, are one of the key ingredients to developing an top performing company, turns traditional management theory upside down.

The authors demonstrate clearly that the old ideas of management are not only counterproductive, but also result in lower productivity and a reduced bottom line. The case studies, of both successful and less profitable companies, underlines and illustrates the value of the research data for any company.

I highly recommend the landmark book The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer, to any business leaders, at any level and in any industry, who are seeking a statistically valid study into enhancing employee motivation. This book will transform the way business leaders and managers think about employee engagement and empowerment, and seek to instil them into all levels of their organizations.

Read the important and productivity increasing book The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer, and discover how engaged and empowered employees will increase your company's performance and improve your business bottom line. You will never return to the older and outmoded theories of employee motivation again.

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