We know that rewarding a certain behavior will encourage more of that behavior. We learned that as a child, and as adults, we practice rewards theory every day on the job and at home. Few of us stop and think in-depth about the dynamic going on beneath the surface.
In 1993, Alfe Kohn wrote an article in the Harvard Business Review that spelled out some startling observations about rewards in the workplace. A few years ago I wrote a white paper updating his observations and providing my personal views on his conclusions. It makes good reading for anyone who is in a leadership position because it reveals some little known concepts about reward theory. http://www.leadergrow.com/PunishedbyRewards.pdf
I hear Alfe speak at a Rochester Quality Conference in the early 90’s and took away the ABCs of employee engagement. A = Autonomous (People need to be invited – treat them like volunteers because they are!); Belonging = People want to feel part of something important (My Passion – A values-driven high performance organization); C = Competent (People want to feel good about their ability to perform – focus on developing their strengths and finding out how they can use them in their job)
I’m looking forward to reading your book and meeting you.