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by Alex Palmer | May 27, 2015
Creating an engaging workplace is as much of an art as a science. That is one of the lessons to be explored in the upcoming book People Artists: Drawing Out the Best in Others at Work. Written by Rideau Recognitions Solutions CEO Peter W. Hart and recognition expert David Zinger, the book presents the cultivation of a strong workplace culture as akin to constructing a work of art - activating a number of different elements to create a compelling whole. The book, which will be released this September, is a follow-up to Hart and Zinger's first book, The Ennoblement Method: People Artistry at Work, published last year. 

Incentive spoke with Hart about the new book, the concept of "people artistry," and the importance of recognition.

Incentive Magazine (IM): How did you come upon the concept of "people artistry"?

Peter W. Hart (PH): I'm actually a bit embarrassed about it. About 25 years ago, I started painting to relieve the stress of running Rideau, but what started as a hobby turned into a passion and now I have a gallery here in Montreal, and we've sold paintings all over the world. But where it connected to our work at Rideau, was my co-author, David Zinger said to me maybe six or seven years ago, "Peter, you are a people artist - you find ways to draw the best from people as a leader." So about two years ago we decided to write a book about this.

IM: How does this book differ from your first book? 

PH: It offers more practical tips about drawing people out at work, and tying it back to what we're doing at Rideau - showing people what you need to do in order to build relationships in the workplace and how leaders and managers can get recognition right. But instead of just us offering our advice, David interviewed more than 35 other leaders who can be considered people artists - folks from heath care, finance, and all other sectors, all over the world - and had them discuss what they thought a people artist was.

IM: Do you have an example of one of these people artists discussed in the book?

PH: There's a small business owner named Don McPherson, based in the Midwest, who on Thanksgiving doesn't watch football games. Instead, he phones up all his employees and clients to tell them "thank you" and how important they are to him and the company - he makes up to 120 calls that day. 

IM: So he gives it a real personal touch.

PH: Exactly. In North America, we put so much emphasis on the reward with recognition as the icing on the cake, but it should be the reverse. The reward should be a reminder of the recognition you received. People have to feel valued and if you can't do that with words and actions, no amount of merchandise or gift certificates are going to change that.