Whoever it was who posted Barbara Ehrenreich's piece on the fallacy of positive thinking, I want to thank him/her for that ... because in so doing, I ran onto another piece done by the same YouTube contributor, RSA Animate, this time on the concept of drive and what works in motivating people.

I think about this particularly as regards the financial meltdown and the association with Wall Street and megabucks and the current financial separation between the guys doing the work and the CEOs in the corner offices and why the whole carrot-and-stick thing seems to have failed miserably. This may not be a complete explanation, but I find it both entertaining and insightful, as well as backed up by study and experiment, and I offer it here for your perusal:

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Comment by Loren Miller on May 26, 2010 at 8:18am
I will insist to my dying day that FEEDBACK, given honestly and without rancor if negative and without sycophancy if positive, is one of the most important things a supervisor can give to an employee. From my point of view, it lets me know that the work I've done is appreciated, that I've been successful in my attempt to add value to the company or that I may need to tweak something here or there to work better within its structure.

Too often, the paycheck is supposed to take the place of such feedback, which I think is a massive mistake. Money as feedback is impersonal and without quality content (though sure, I want to make a buck as much as the next guy). Feedback in both directions (management to labor AND vice-versa!) can also be a part of the social content of the job and further lubricate relations between management and those on the front lines. It also has the opportunity to encourage synergy to generate new ideas which will further improve the company and the overall work environment.

So HELL YEAH - "Thank you" and "What do you think?" are enormously valid, no-cost tools to maintain employee morale and indeed, the organization as a whole. Would that we saw more of it!
Comment by Howard S. Dunn on May 25, 2010 at 9:12am
BTW - one of those magazines - Forbes or Fortune 500 - I can't remember - did their own study on investing in methods to stop turnover. They looked at retention bonuses, merit raises, competitive salaries, benes, etc. Yet the top two most effective were also what they called 'zero cost' - meaning they required no money and worked the best. They were words delivered with sincerity:

1. Thank you!
2. What do you think?

There is a theory that the reason that Postal workers have the reputation for coming in and killing everyone is partly based on a real trend that goes like this: Test a potential employee to assure they are in the top 90% in general knowledge and literacy and THEN give them a menial, repetitive task that never ends - like checking zip codes.
Comment by Howard S. Dunn on May 25, 2010 at 9:03am
This is awesome. Thanks for finding and sharing. I put it up on my FB page.

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