A story from Daniel G Amen, M.D. about Fat Freddie a Penguin.

It seems that Fat Freddie could do some amazing things on stage.  He could and would jump off a diving board on command. Fat Freddie could even count.  You say Freddie ten and he would clap his fins ten times.  But what is most amazing about Fat Freddie he would jump through a burning hoop on command. A stunt that is against everyone’s and every animals’ instinct. Running or jumping through fire just does not happen without training.

When the trainer was asked how he got Fat Freddie to do all these amazing tricks. His statement was profound.  He does what most humans have forgotten to do with each other when they are coaching others.  “I praise Fat Freddie for everything he does good.” Fast Freddie was rewarded with food and verbal praise every time he did something good. Every time.


Like most humans, Fat Freddie worked to gain more praise. When you give praise for doing good, most humans will work to earn more praise. This is the natural way of things.  This happens in your Pre-Frontal Cortex (PFC). When you only notice what was not good it seems humans will create more of the undesirable behavior. From the small child to the adult in the office, the PFC is in control. Only focus on the negative the PFC tends to repeat the negative. When you notice and praise the positive in your direct reports the PFC will be moved to doing more great things to satisfy its need for attention. And when you choose to just ignore the good and the bad the PFC will cause the person to become more distractible, and their impulse control will start to slip away.

The Bottom Line:
Increase productivity, loyalty, trust, and profitability by giving praise.

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