Recognizing People. Inspiring Greatness.
IN THE PRESSClick here for articles
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
It’s true. Children love watching all of us big people. Whatever we do they will imitate. They are the best mimics in the world.
Do something not so good and they will still do it.
Do something super good, they will do that too.
Monkey see. Monkey do.
We hope managers and employees are a little more discerning of what is right and what is wrong.
Nevertheless, the art and practice of acknowledging those around us and expressing recognition is so often mirrored from what our leaders do.
Time and time again we’ve seen it.
Managers see. Managers do.
Q: What exemplary recognition practices do your leaders demonstrate that encourages recognition giving?
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
In a recent presentation on getting recognition right to a group of leaders from the healthcare sector, one of the sincere and genuine questions raised by one of the attendees was, “How do you recognize a night shift worker?”
You and I can appreciate the challenges they are implying by this question.
My immediate response, with tongue in cheek, was to answer the same way you recognize a day shift worker: positively, timely, personally, with right words and actions, connecting them with the difference they are making, gratefully, and with sincere acknowledgement for the contributions they make.
What was implied, however, were the challenges of primary supervisors and managers not always present on the night shift to give the deserved recognition.
How do you get around the issues affecting giving recognition to shift workers? Here are six ideas to consider:
Impromptu Visits. Night shift employees are missing out on the personal connection with a supervisor or manager that day shift workers take for granted. Make impromptu visits to departments or units and make them purely a relationship investment.
Be Fully Present. When you are in the room be in the room. Be absolutely 100% engaged in listening, observing and sharing on night visits all that goes on so you have things to acknowledge and provide positive feedback about.
Linger Longer. Because day time employees see their supervisor/ manager more often, when you do visit night shift employees don’t rush the visit. Stay longer so they can make valuable relationship building time with you.
Periodic Connections. Schedule time to email or make phone call connections with each night shift worker regularly and get to know them and gain their input and trust. Learn how to adjust work assignments to best fit their needs and interests.
Feedback Opportunities. Plan monthly 1:1, face-to-face, or virtual meetings for short feedback sessions to learn how they are performing, commend them on achievements and to solicit how you can serve them better. Tell them to keep a monthly log of their accomplishments so they can blow their own horn with you.
Night Owls. Share the camaraderie of night shift workers with a bulletin board just for them to share individual and team accomplishments and personal milestones. Use this medium as a manager to leave special notes to individuals and the entire team.
Recognizing night time employees just takes a little shift in thinking.
Q: How do you help night shift employees get the recognition they deserve?
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
I first met Barbara Ruddy in 2001.
My colleague, Gord Green and I were attending our first Recognition Professionals International (RPI) conference. It was in Scottsdale, Arizona and Barbara was chairing the conference.
I distinctly remember Barbara’s warm smile when we registered. Gord and I didn’t really know what to expect and I think Barbara sensed this and she went out of her way to make us feel welcome. After having attended 12 RPI conferences, I can tell you that; thanks to Barbara’s work, Scottsdale ranks right up there as one of the best!
Barbara heads up RPI's Pamela Sabin Award Committee which honors our industry’s top recognition champions http://www.recognition.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=898]. I never knew Pam Sabin, but through knowing Barbara over the years, I feel that I’ve come to know her by the way Barbara talks about her contributions to our industry.
Barbara also teaches RPI’s Certified Recognition Professional (CRP) courses and over the years has taught me and over 60 of my Rideau colleagues how to be better recognition professionals. She has taught many others in our industry, as well. She goes out of her way to make sure students understand the course content. If someone “doesn’t get it” she will sit down with the person one-on-one to make sure they grasp all of the intricacies.
Barbara cares. You can see it when she makes the Pam Sabin presentation award. You can see it when she speaks to you and makes you feel as if you’re the only person in the room. And you can see it when she teaches the CRP courses.
I’ve been very lucky to have met Barbara and to have learned from her over the years. I thank her for all that she has done for me and the Rideau family.
We should all thank Barbara for being a Recognition Champion!
Monday, October 22, 2012
I have a confession to make.
You cannot create a “recognition culture.”
There…I’ve said it. I feel much better now.
Oh yes, I have given oodles of keynote presentations and breakout sessions and seminars on how to create a recognition culture. I know…you can blame me for this idea. For a long time I really believed this was the case.
I was wrong.
Now, many moons later, I have learned things from great people from some pretty amazing organizations which have changed my mind.
Yes, I know there are over 133 million references on Google to the term “recognition culture”.
My point is you can only create a great organizational culture, period.
Solid, foundational values lived to the max with passion and a belief in their importance is what culture is all about. This creates an environment and a set of normative behaviors demonstrated by the majority of people that become expected.
It causes us to do the right things for the right reasons.
Often there is a declared purpose statement of why you are in business and what you intend to deliver as a service or product to your customers. It may even state how you will do that. This gives meaning and motivation to employees and sets a standard for customers to know what to expect.
This is culture.
It’s doing what you say you’re going to do.
Consistency of doing comes from what is expected of us. Valuing people for their contributions comes from genuine respect and gratitude.
It is not creating an engagement culture, a retention culture, a recruitment culture, a wellness culture, or even a recognition culture.
Just create the right culture for you to do the right things at your organization.
THEN you can append, fix, align, drive or whatever other verb you’d like to recognition.
Culture will drive recognition. Recognition will reinforce culture.
Focus on culture.
The recognition will happen.
Friday, October 19, 2012
“Doctor, I’m concerned our recognition program is not going to make it much longer.”
“I know nurse. It’s sad to see a good program go like this.”
“Doctor! The program’s pulse has gone flat.”
“Quick! Get the defibrillator. It’s our only hope!!”
OK. I know it’s not quite up to General Hospital TV script writing standards, but you get the idea. Many a corporate recognition program needs new life breathed into it, and may even need complete resuscitation.
Recognition programs go through stages if left alone without regular review and intent to constantly improve upon.
Let’s take a quick look at the 5 stages in the life of a typical recognition program:
Stage 1: Live. This is the very beginning, the start-up and grand opening launch of the recognition program. Everyone is excited about the possibilities. Anticipation is high.
Stage 2: Thrive. Managers and employees alike have been well oriented to the program and participation levels are at acceptable levels. Engagement is high.
Stage 3: Survive. The program is coasting and no accountability is being held for program effectiveness or reviewing reports to know why usage in some areas is declining. Apathy is high.
Stage 4: Dive. No one is taking ownership or interest in the program and those few people using the program have their recognition actions discounted as disingenuous or unmeaningful. Cynicism is high
Stage 5: Revive. There is just one last chance. A realignment, redesign and reconnection to revitalize your recognition program to reach your strategic objectives, and become more in synch with your organizational culture. Hope is high.
To keep your recognition programs functioning and alive and well you must skip the Survive and Dive stages.
Follow the cycle and move forward with Live, Thrive and jump straight to Revive.
Recognition programs will take a life of their own and die if left alone.
You must regularly invigorate them and give them the lifeblood of improvement, rebranding, and refocus in order for a recognition program to serve you well.
Q: What do you do to ensure your recognition programs are constantly thriving and regularly revitalized?
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
To the naysayers out there…recognition works…so there!!
Like everything else, though, recognition must be done right for the right reasons in order for it to make a difference to employees and results. Then you are guaranteed it will work.
To get recognition right requires many things, like:
Defined Purpose. Why are we giving recognition? What do we believe recognition really is to us? How will it benefit our employees and customers?
Clear Objectives. What do we want to have happen because we believe recognition is a great practice? What outcomes are we looking to impact? How will we know we’ve made a difference?
Right Metrics. Now that we know what we want, how will we measure it? Can we also measure recognition impact and not just outputs? How effective and meaningful is our recognition?
Recognition Fit. How do we keep on top of recognition preferences? What recognition options can we realistically afford? How can we make recognition practices a normative way of doing things?
Great Execution. How can we truly honor those we recognize each day? What will it take to create a celebration mindset? How will we educate ourselves to be better givers of recognition?
Now for the measuring stick. Here are some points to keep top of mind.
There are so many ways to slice and dice recognition.
Always measure your recognition. Take action every time you get a report back or feedback on recognition practices and program usage.
Give them an inch… and make them smile!
Q: What are some unique ways you have found to measure the impact and effectiveness of recognition?
Monday, October 15, 2012
My wife and I drive a lot throughout many of the States in the U.S.
It is wonderful to see some amazing billboards where famous people, past, present or fictionional characters are shown accompanied by a positive and uplifting quote.
At the bottom of each billboad the organization sponsoring them is identified as The Foundation for a Better Life and you can view samples of these billboards at www.values.com
There’s the billboard with a smiling picture of Oprah Winfrey and the line “A force for good. Encouragement. Pass it on.”
Or what about the picture of Mozart and the caption “Hit the high notes. Great music. Pass it on.”
I like the thought provoking one with Nelson Mandela and the question, “What can one person do? Inspiration. Pass it on.”
I invite you to visit the www.values.com website and explore it for a lot of reasons:
1. Quote Unquote. First, you can sign up to receive the wonderful collection of daily, positive quotations they send out which are guaranteed to lift you up.
2. View Inspiration. Check out the great Public Service Announcement TV commercials they have created which are also online that will make you smile; cause you to think; and inspire the emotions that provoke us to change.
3. Request Uplift. You can even order posters of the amazing billboards they produce and obtain a DVD with the great commercials you’ll see online to use in your meetings at work and in the community.
4. Creative Encouraging. You can even create your own billboard message to post online with a photo, a value to align with and a short quote that fits and inspires.
Recognition honors and values the past; encouragement motivates and inspires the future.
Pass it on!
Q: How do you give encouragement to others around you?
Friday, October 12, 2012
What a great way to wake up to in the morning.
At a recent conference I heard the simple, innovative wisdom of Guy Kawasaki delivered with humor and a smile which was a quick morning head rush as the opening keynote.
He gave us 10 points on the art of innovation and started off with his #1 as “Make Meaning”.
I don’t want to plagiarize his entire talk and tell you everything he said.
But what resonated most with me was his first point and how it relates to employee recognition.
Kawasaki’s starting point – “Make Meaning” – was whatever we do in life should be game changing. We should want to change the world.
How can we change the world with the appreciation and recognition we give to people?
Consider these 4 Meaning Makers:
Meaning Maker #1: Make each recognition touch point as unique and special as you can for each individual. Take extra care to personalize your recognition actions with a tangible token showing you have observed their interests and likes over time. Pause. Reflect. Do.
Meaning Maker #2: Make time to think carefully about the words you use to express your recognition. Go beyond using preferred name and just telling them what they did well. Connect with them on a deeper personal level by sharing what you see in their eyes and facial expressions. Observe. Serve. Learn.
Meaning Maker #3: Make it easy for them to know how they made a difference to your customers. Join the dots for them and help them know how meaningful their contribution really is to everyone involved. Identify. Share. Acknowledge.
Meaning Maker #4: Make whatever you say or do an opportunity to encourage people to keep doing their personal best and break whatever records or barriers they can. Let them know their actions that you have acknowledged are the start of something amazing. Motivate. Innovate. Celebrate.
Strive hard each day to make meaning with all of your recognition initiatives.
Q: What do you do personally to put greater meaning into the recognition you give to people?
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Does that seem too much to expect?
Would it be too difficult to hear those kindly words from an employee after a sales or service interaction we’ve had? And to genuinely feel that they meant it?
Saying “please” and “thank you” used to be a norm that was drilled into us by our parents. I am not sure it is drilled into them anymore. In fact, sometimes it seems like it might be buried…real deep!
You can understand then why I was tickled to see a large sign in the capital city of Canada where it read, ““Thank You” to be spoken here.”
It was a large, blue sign, and it was in front of a future Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse being built. Underneath the bold slogan is the invitation to visit the company website if you want a job with them.
Imagine being told before you were even hired and onboarded that you were expected to say “thank you”.
Say “thank you” to your fellow associates for the great work they do every day and for them helping you. Say “thank you” to the great customers who come into the store and keep the company in business.
Is that really too much to expect?
I don’t think so.
This company sets the expectation right from the get go – even before they are hired.
If you expect it then you you’ll get it.
1. Expect it when recruiting. Follow the Lowe’s example as in the photo and advertise that you expect friendly people who are polite and even say the old fashioned “please” and “thank you” to one another as well as to the customer.
2. Expect it when you’re onboarding. Instead of reviewing all an employee can get working for you, tell them what they can give too. Give some ideas of recognition practices and using your programs and expect them to thank someone who has helped make their welcome to the company a great one.
3. Expect it along the way. Oh it’s so easy to forget after a while when you get busy and caught up with the job itself. Simply communicate expectations through staff meetings, trickle down emails and well-designed posters. And don’t forget by example too!
4. Expect exemplary givers. Yes, stop and say thank you to the leaders, no matter what their positions are, who lead by personal example and spread recognition, praise and thanks all around the company. Thank employees who emulate saying thank you to others.
Just expect the best and you’re bound to get it.
Q: How do you keep on top of consistently saying a meaningful thank you to those around you?
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
While CEO compensation dominates the news, little attention is given to the other hot issue of employee retention and how to motivate the leadership abilities of CEO’s in keeping their staff happy and productive. Employee engagement is highest when senior executives lead the way in recognizing employee contributions.
What does it take to reward CEO’s and encourage the "trickle-down" effect from CEO motivation down to the rank and file?
Boards should seriously consider options like entrepreneur CEO Yanik Silver’s Maverick 1,000 (see http://www.maverick1000.com) for CEO’s and business entrepreneurs, or at least apply the principles gleaned from his philosophy.
CEOs and their C-suite counterparts usually have all the money they need, so money in itself is not a motivator. What corporate leaders don’t always do is take time out to broaden their horizons on business thinking or to have fun.
Using an exclusive membership based business approach Silver provides unique experiences combined with adventure, business building opportunities, exclusive connections, and an important piece of giving back to future entrepreneurs.
Adventures have ranged from Baja Race Car driving in Northern Mexico, white water rafting in Colorado, bungee jumping, experiencing zero gravity, and even bobsledding at the Lake Placid Olympic site.
Silver’s approach provides great insights into what motivates CEO’s and suggests important ideas that Boards can use to reward CEO’s for making their businesses profitable.
Creating Connections: CEO’s need to get out of their isolated and lonely world. Silver makes it possible for CEO’s to connect with other business leaders as well as with interesting people such as Frank McKinney, "the Real Estate Rock Czar” and Jesse James of Monster Garage. Silver states how CEO’s often end up sharing their accomplishments and business ideas with like-minded people which they’re unable to do back at their company. By connecting with fellow CEO’s from diverse industries the cross-pollination of business practices is a great benefit.
Leaving a Legacy: CEO’s want to be remembered for what they have done. CEO’s writing books and doing public speaking is often a reflection of trying to create a bigger picture and in giving back in some small way, which brings its own internal rewards. Boards can assist with support by enlisting a ghostwriter to work with their CEO to get their book out there sooner than later and perhaps hiring a speech coach for making more memorable presentations.
Same Motivations: CEO’s all have a similar motivation. It can often be boiled down to the power of generating ideas and creating solutions to problems. From there it is a matter of turning that concept into a product or service that is successful in the marketplace and becomes a profitable enterprise. Boards can encourage further funneling of new ideas by enlisting creativity experts to teach innovative thinking techniques as well facilitating the harvesting of ideas for the future.
Novel Rewards: CEO’s are not necessarily motivated by money. Silver is picking up on this through Maverick 1,000 by creating a unique experience that money cannot buy. The key here is finding out what is meaningful that somehow a CEO won’t justify on purchasing, even if they do have the money. Hence the varied adventure locations and activities and then applying what they learn to their businesses. Boards should remember all work and no play makes a CEO start to lose focus and become out of the zone for business success.
Giving Back: CEO’s never forget where they came from. CEO’s choose to sit on foundation boards or make sure their company is involved philanthropically or in some social responsible area, as a chance to make a difference by giving back. Maverick 1,000 gives 5 percent of their profits to charity and provides opportunities for all CEO participants to share their knowledge with aspiring entrepreneurial students in telling how them they got started and providing advice based on their experiences.
Boards and corporate executives must learn to capitalize on these deeper motivations and rewards to create competitive CEO’s for tomorrow’s growth and profitability. In reality Boards must do a better job of tapping into their leaders’ core purpose in life to motivate them and then engage their most powerful asset - their employees.
Q: How does your organization motivate your CEO beyond the regular pay and incentives?