The mismatch between what science knows and what business does
There is a time to admire the grace and persuasive power of an influential idea, and there is a time to fear its hold over us. The time to worry is when the idea is so widely shared that we no longer even notice it, when it is deeply rooted that it feels to us like plain common sense. At the point when objections are not answered anymore because they are no longer even raised, we are not in control: we do not have the idea; it has us.
Punished by rewards
These were the opening words from Alfie Kohn’s book ‘Punished by Rewards – The trouble with gold stars, incentive plans, A’s praise, and other bribes’. These words rang a bell with something I had been questioning for some time. My studying of, and work with, Marshall Rosenberg’s concept of Non-Violent Communication had lead me to question the use of superficial praise such as ‘thanks for the great presentation’ or ‘that’s an excellent report’.
When I discuss the shortcomings of such communication with people in my close environment, they can relate to what I say, but nonetheless appear content, or even get a short-lived kick, out of such superficial praise. I can’t help but think that we are missing out on so many opportunities to have more meaningful and life-enriching communication.
So it was with much interest that I picked up Alfie Kohn’s book, in my search of a better understanding of the impact of rewards and praise in our society and in particular in our workplaces. In a book packed with notes and references to articles and field studies I found what I was looking for. Read more…