Micro-Interview with Author Roger Martin

May 5, 2014 Sarah Payne

Roger MartinDo you know Roger Martin? If not, you should. Roger is highly respected across the globe for his perspective on workplace excellence and human capital management. The Canadian author and former Dean of the University of Toronto is well known for his contributions to integrative thinking and design thinking, and more recently a concentration on corporate responsibility and the conjunction of economics and company success.

Roger’s focus on the importance of innovating in business, his predictions for the future of the workplace and his emphasis on the power of recognition as a motivator and success-driver make him an especially influential voice in the recognition industry.

In his most recent book, Playing To Win, written with P&G Chairman and CEO A.G. Lafley, Roger examines how strategy really works, and the importance of making tough, innovative choices to achieve victory.

I was lucky enough to sit down for a few moments recently with Roger, and to ask him some questions about the choices we make as managers and as companies.

Q. How important do you feel recognition is to promote a better workplace culture?

Roger Martin: Organizations spend far too much time and energy compensating and not nearly enough on recognition. People long to be a valued member of their organization and want to feel that it is a meritorious place – the latter because it helps them feel that it is worth being a valuable member of it.  Both require recognition. Workers need to know that they are valued and they will feel better if they are working for a company that values its employees in a thorough and intelligent fashion.

The dominant tool organizations use for this purpose is monetary compensation.  It is an expensive, blunt-edged and frankly pretty crummy tool. It is smarter to have a variety of ways of recognizing employees.  There is a reason why school kids love gold stars even though they cost almost nothing.  They make them feel like valuable members of their class community. That is the goal of intelligent recognition.

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