Tip of the month Recognize employees often and in small ways. The reason? The frequency of praise is more important than its size. If you stake too much on an occasional big incentive, you may lose employees who think they're not valued.
Book of the month Ultimate Rewards by Steven Kerr (Harvard Business School Press, 1997) calls on those at the forefront of business thinking--Peter Drucker, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Noel M. Tichy--to speak about what motivates people to achieve. The book, an anthology of already existing works, is balanced by a couple of pieces on why incentives don't work, including one by Alfie Kohn that created quite a sensation when it was first released in '93. Says Kohn, "Few people take the time to examine the connection between incentive programs and problems with workplace productivity and morale. Rewards buy temporary compliance, so it looks like the problems are solved."
Sensation of the month W New York has turned the concept of the "business hotel" upside down (or perhaps, right side up). Here, the guest rooms were designed to be a guest's own secret garden, with boxes of sea pebbles, dried flowers, potpourri, personal CD players, and comfy down comforters. Famed designer David Rockwell's lobby, with its art-glass windows and subtle palette of earth tones, is a relaxing, restorative sanctuary from the outside world. Even the organic cooking style of the lobby restaurant, appropriately named Heartbeat, mirrors the hotel's theme of well-being.
The 722-room W New York, located on Lexington Avenue and 50th Street (formerly the Doral), is the first of 13 such hotels expected to open during the next year, all to be managed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.
Web Site of the month Unlike many sites that claim to be crafted by meeting experts, this one really has been. There are online surveys done with visitors to the site and content changes frequently enough for you to want to come back. Features: a section called "Meeting Advisor," which answers visitors' questions (like how to deal with a difficult attendee); downloadable "Meeting Guides" on everything from brainstorming to nonverbal messages at meetings; a bookstore targeted to meeting subjects; and a monthly online newsletter.
Quote of the month "The length of a meeting rises with the square of the number of people present."