Top 10 Ways to Use Social Recognition to Boost Key Performance Indicators

New York
November 2014
Published by:: 
Incentive Magazine
Coaxing out better performance from employees is a manager's most important job. So, why do so many spend more time with spreadsheets than with their subordinates?

Recognition Only Happens When You’re Intentional

Do you ever wonder why some employees just don’t feel appreciated for all the great things they are doing?

Perhaps it is because the expressions of recognition they receive are not done without real intent.

You know…we’ve all heard the generic and routine phrases of, “Good job!” or “Well done!” spouted out like automatic speech. 

I picked up on this idea of intent the other day when my wife and I gave our car probably the last at home, hand wash of the year. She was spraying the car down before we would suds it up. Innocently (I think!) I got sprayed with some water.

I lovingly shouted out, “Hey! Watch it!”

Equally lovingly but with a broad smile on her face, she replied, “If it was intentional I would have done a better job.” 

I caught that wifey wisdom, put down my cloth and wrote her words down in my iPhone Notes.

Think about it: If your recognition giving were intentional it would be received well every single time.

You aim better when intentional. Fortunately, I did not get soaked in the way of the spray, but I sure could have if my wife had aimed directly at me. Recognition needs to be aimed directly at the intended person. Aim specifically at the action performed by stating it sharp and clear.

You plan out what you will say or do. Now I am not saying you can’t be spontaneous. By planning I mean follow a simple formula like identifying the situation observed and describing the positive actions observed; sharing the impact of their actions on others as well as on results; and sincerely thanking them the best way you can.

You plain well think better about recognition. When you go with the intent to be empathetic and thinking how you want to make the recipient of recognition feel, you will be thinking more carefully. Recognition done well requires thought.

You give it with so much more meaning. Recognizing given with intent is naturally more meaningful. Knowing how the person likes to be recognized sparks creative ideas on what you can do to honor and value them.

You want to immerse the other person in the experience. If my wife had “intended” to spray that water at me I would have been soaked for sure. No matter how a person likes to be appreciated make sure you do all you can to immerse them in the positive feelings of gratitude and thanks.

You have to put forth your best effort with giving recognition. Being intentional requires effort and it is hard work. I have never said recognition is easy to do but like anything good and worthwhile in this life the outcome is priceless.

Getting intentional around giving recognition will make all the difference in the world to the people around you. They deserve the very best from you.

Recognition only happens when you’re intentional.

Q: How intentional are you with your recognition giving?


Top 10 Signs Your Rewards and Recognition Program Is for Zombies

New York
October 2014
Published by:: 
Incentive Magazine
 How to revive your rewards and recognition programs to be truly functional and meaningful.

Creaky Machinery: How to Get the Most Out of Your Aging Factory

September 2014
Published by:: 
Industry Week
 It's tough to predict when capital spending budgets will get a boost, leaving floor managers with the uncomfortable task of making do with aging equipment. 

Top 10 Ways to Preserve Your Social Media Privacy--Without Clamming Up

New York
September 2014
Published by:: 
Incentive Magazine
 Privacy is once again dominating the headlines amid news of celebrities suffering embarrassing leaks. Keeping secrets can be tough in the always-on, interconnected world in which we live.

Top 10 Obsessions for Getting Recognition Right

New York
September 2014
Published by:: 
Incentive Magazine
Typically, we think of obsessiveness in a negative or abnormal way. But this month's Top 10 is about being preoccupied with getting recognition right in the eyes of the receiver.

Please Remember, You Cannot Delegate Recognition

It seems like only yesterday but I guess it was over 10 years ago now.

I was leading a CEO and their leadership and management teams from a non-profit organization on how to give recognition the right way to their employees.

I felt like I had connected well with everyone.  The learning exercises were well received. Enthusiasm was high that each of them could go back to their offices and make a positive change. We even put in place a way for everyone to apply what they had learned back in the workplace.

That’s what I thought.

A day later I received an email from the CEO’s executive assistant.

This dear assistant crafted an email that said how the CEO wanted me to know how much she appreciated and learned from the leadership session. Signed, the Executive Assistant.

One, very important person, didn’t get it right.

The CEO was indirectly communicating that I was not important enough for them to take the time to compose the email themself.

You cannot delegate recognition.

The same issue was triggered the other day when a vice president in another organization wondered if we would be providing education and training for their executive assistant. Of course, we can all improve how we deliver meaningful recognition to people. All of us could benefit from learning the right ways of recognition giving.

But the intention of this leader’s question was because they delegate their recognition giving to their assistant.

Naturally, with some recognition and reward programs, which have nominations to be approved, a busy executive may have their assistant help them with approving those nominations when they are away.

Similarly, the reward side of these programs may require a more immediate response to approving a financial or tangible award that the executive’s time and availability cannot provide.

You can delegate the task of approving nominations or the actual tangible rewards or recognition. You just cannot pretend to delegate the relationship piece around appreciating and recognizing people.

Before you think about delegating some aspect of your recognition or rewards programs to someone else, think first about the message you are communicating to your employees. Are your people important to you?

Remember, you can delegate rewards but you can never delegate recognition.

Q: What negative experiences have you had of delegated recognition?



Top 10 Reasons to Be a Great Recognizer

New York
August 2014
Published by:: 
Incentive Magazine
We often expect managers and employees to automatically be able to give great recognition to those they work with.

Mahalo to Everyone

Last week I heard thank you expressed so many times without ever hearing the words “Thank You!”
Confused? I understand.
My wife and I have just come back from vacation to the island of O’ahu in Hawaii where we celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary.
Everywhere we went we heard two words consistently and sincerely spoken to us each day we were there.
The first was the famous “Aloha”. This typical island greeting or farewell comes from the Hawaiian terms “Alo” meaning presence, front, or face, plus “ha” meaning breath of life, and together means “The presence of (Divine) Breath.” When you know this you can understand why the native Hawaiians desire to greet you in such a sacred way. It is much more than a simple greeting.
And the second word we heard spoken from everyone was “Mahalo”. This is generally used to express gratitude and thanks. That’s what I meant when I said we heard thank you without those specific words ever spoken. Hawaiians have always been known to be a generous and grateful people and say this all the time as you leave, as they have served you, or how you have served them.
I love linguistics and where words come from. When you dissect the word mahalo from its origins you will recognize the same meanings from aloha. In this case, “Ma” means “in”, combined with “ha” which you know means “breath” and of course “alo” referring to presence, front or face.
With our English speaking interpretation our new Hawaiian friends were really saying “May you be in (Divine) Breath”. No wonder the frequency of using this term and the smiles that accompanied it were so authentic. They were actually blessing us.
They literally breathe these words upon you as a special act rather than saying trite words.
Perhaps we have lost putting meaning into the spoken words, “thank you”. I think we need to breathe new life into them.
Q: When you express thanks to people is it heartfelt or routinely said?

I Hope You Know How Much I Appreciate You




I have truly heard those exact words, "I hope you know how much I appreciate you."

After an interminable absence of ever hearing any expressed appreciation, a manager is somehow triggered to finally come by your office and then prefaces their saying “thanks” with those not so reassuring words.

Do you really believe them?

Some managers think suddenly making an appearance to give their infrequent acknowledgment is all it takes to keep you loyal and engaged.

Please beware of anyone who prefaces their statements of appreciation. And be sensitive yourself to the choice of words you use when giving recognition to people.

Those who work with us desire to feel valued and appreciated for their contributions.

They trust that you will be the kind of caring person to regularly and consistently acknowledge them for their personal qualities and all that they do.

Don’t let them guess, assume, or even hope to know.

If you really appreciate them they would already know.

Q: Do the people you work with already know you appreciate them?


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