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I, too, enjoyed Dan's video on TED. Your point in this post about inadvertently encouraging deviant behavior is an important one. I blogged about this, but the upshot of my post was that to avoid this, you must tie recognition to behaviors that reflect the company values in achievement of strategic objectives. This approach ensures employees who, for example, increase productivity but do so by harming the environment will not be rewarded for their efforts. Values-based recognition is the key to ensuring employees display the right behaviors in achieving the company goals.

More on this and research out of Singapore Management University on the topic available here: http://globoforce.blogspot.com/2009/07/self-esteem-sabotage-and-psychic-income.html

Thank you for commenting, Derek. I agree it pays to be more careful about how you formulate goals AND how you reward behavior. Also, I love the term 'psychic income' and hope to see it more.

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