Leadership Resources

Leadership Resources from the Carlson Executive MBA Program

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

This book published in 2011 by Harvard professor, Teresa Amabile, and psychologist, Steven Kramer, echoes much of the organizational behavior literature we studied in our first year.  Their research suggests that it’s not about the highest pay that motivates employees, it’s about positively influencing people’s perceptions about their work environments (managers, organizations, teams, the work, and even themselves) that motivates people to give their best.  Specifically, they note that three things seem to matter most: 1) Progress in meaningful work (e.g. small wins, breakthroughs, forward movement, goal completion) 2) Catalysts that directly help work (setting clear goals, allowing autonomy, providing resources, providing sufficient time, helping with the work, learning from problems and successes, allows ideas to flow), 3) Nourishers/interpersonal events (e.g. respect, encouragement, emotional support, affiliation/bonds of mutual trust & appreciation) that uplift people doing the work.