The Progress Principle

(c) david ingram

This interview is a good summary that will serve as my overdue nod to a book I found on the Globe and Mail list of the top ten business books of the year in 2011. The Progress Principle is the result of the analysis of thousands of work diaries to figure out what makes employees feel empowered at work – it’s making progress on meaningful work.  The definition of meaning has to make sense for each person and the amount of progress can be small. Managers can support through finding catalysts (clear goals and resources) and nourishments (respect and emotional support) to progress versus creating inhibitors (micro-managing) and toxins (being disrespectful). What I wish the authors had elaborated on was the difficult rub of a collective making progress on meaningful work with liberal amounts of inhibitors and toxins thrown into the mix.  To my mind, the framing of the thesis can miss the mark because the definition of progress can work for some and not for others.

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