Friday, June 15, 2012

Book Review: Bringing Out the Best in People

Bringing Out the Best in People: How to Apply the Astonishing Power of Positive ReinforcementThe need for effective management in the corporate world is absolutely paramount.  I know each one of you have probably experienced a manager whose athority you quesitoned.  I know I've had my fair share, and I want to solve this issue by partly talking about a book that has impacted my life significantly: Bringing Out the Best in People by Aubrey Daniels.

I was exposed to this book via the company I work for in which its core principles are highly emphasised.  Aubrey Daniels promotes the concept of Precision Leadership and has designed his whole consultancy around this particular form.

The main point he emphasizes throughout his book is that precision leadership is all about understanding how to motivate people via the right incentives.  If you think about it, nothing we do is without some sort of positive incentive or reinforcer.  You might, for example, walk the dog, because you don't want to clean up a mess in your house.  You may cook foods your family likes, because you enjoy their appreciation.  Everything boils down to two fundamental acronyms; PIC and NIC.  The first is defined as Positive, Immediate, and Certain.  This is the optimal methodology for motivating people.  If you want to change someone's habit or encourage work they already perform, positive motivation is the best way to do it.  Even better is the second term, Immediate.  If you can give them positive incentives (whether it be a pat on the back, or some sort of accolades) immediately after your worker performed the action, it will have a far more dramatic effect than if you do it at some point in the future.  Finally, the last part of this acronym is the concept of Certain.  The employee should know that every time they do this action, they will get positive, immediate, incentives. 

Another way of managing people is through NIC's, or Negative, Immediate, and Certain.  Much like a PIC, a negative action will have immediate and impactful consequences when promoting some sort of behavior.  It should be noted that Daniel's goes into detail on how negative reinforcers serve more as an antecedent to prevent the action from happening again, but should not be the best form of motivation.  Would you want to work for a company that only provided negative reinforcers?  Sounds pretty bad.

The really great thing about the whole ideas behind precision leadership is that it is completely applicable to every situation in life.  Raising a child is all about finding out what incents them, same thing with raising a pet.  These concepts could be used in negotiations, resolving and issue with a spouse, or any number of situations; the list is endless. 

For me personally, these concepts in the book have taught me many strategies that I will use for the rest of my life.  Better yet, I borrowed the book from a friend for's that for a return on your investment!

Wonderful Moment of the Day = Coming home to a beautiful salad dinner my wife made!

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