The Progress Principle

The Progress Principle

When Teresa Amabile, professor of Business Administration and a Director of Research at Harvard Business School, and developmental psychologist Steven Kramer conducted research to learn what makes people not only come to work but also drives them to stay and perform at their best, they found the answer surprising. Employees weren’t engaged and happy with their jobs because of high salaries or on-site perks like state-of-the-art athletic facilities or even free food. Instead, they found that motivated and downright joyful workers had satisfying inner work lives. What does this mean specifically? In their book The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work (Harvard Business Review Press), Amabile and Kramer explain that great inner work life is about the work, not the accouterments. “It starts with giving people something meaningful to accomplish… It requires giving clear goals, autonomy, help and resources – what people need to …

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