1. They soften the company policies when everything goes well.

2. They become harsher and raise the bar after being too easy-going backfires.

Does it sound like a Sisyphean task to you? 

Think differently! Whenever you go too far with "nice" or "harsh," solving this mistake will mature you and the company.

Clarifying leadership style for 2024 is my top priority now. Unsurprisingly, the next books I'm reviewing in #FoundersBookshelf are HBR's “Top 10 Picks on Performance Management” and Daniel Pink's "Drive." 


The first book is a set of top-notch articles addressing modern performance management.

Some of the important points made there:

1. During performance reviews, the biggest variable is not personal performance. It's the rater. So, drop scores, as comparison based on them, is mostly useless.

2. Yearly performance reviews connected to the compensation changes are hated by both raters and ratees. It's too slow to notice poor performance and to reward good one.

3. The top-performing teams give statements like: “My co-workers are committed to doing quality work,” “The mission of my company inspires me,” and “I have the chance to use my strengths every day.” Putting people in line with their strengths is so crucial!

4. Regular 1-on-1 check-ins with people improve engagement a lot. It's a low-hanging fruit that's often underutilized. 

5. Evaluating peers in 360 reviews rarely works, as people are most concerned about not hurting a peer's raise potential. Leave some space for comments there, where you can look for more subtle signals than plain scores.


Daniel Pink, basing on science, argues that traditional reward and punishment approaches are not effective or even hurting our motivation. 

Instead, he showcases how Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose are crucial to fuel people with durable motivation sources.

So again, instead of scoring people and "managing" them, a much better way is to unleash their potential by giving them more ownership and freedom. Explaining the bigger picture and training them will further reinforce the positive effects.


These two books create a good trio with "The Song of Significance" by Seth Godin, which lacked specificity and served more as a manifesto for similar ideas.

"Drive" serves a good scientific background, so you understand why this modern approach to leadership makes sense. And then you sprinkle HBR on top to discover some practical business tools to implement it. 

And suddenly, the vague "high trust, high stakes, mission over profit, and dignity over hyperproductivity," Godin described suddenly makes sense.

So, how long until the days of "carrots and sticks" are finally over?