Three Ways to Make Recognition a Habit, 1 Thing to Avoid

On one of the first days at my new job I was handed a box.  It was large enough to fit 50-100 8.5 x 11 inch folders, and it was a nice shade of green with a pattern that told me someone had put some thought into the design of this box.  Then I was told what it was – my Recognition Toolbox.  I opened it, and was surprised at how little was inside.  The contents consisted of a few thank you notes, some process sheets for getting gift cards and other rewards, and some post-it notes with a positive slogan printed on them.

Before creating a box – here are three habits that will get you the better outcomes and save some printing costs:

  1. Dedicate 5 minutes at meetings: Start every meeting with everyone sharing a star performer from the week, with the action plan being “how did you recognize them”.
  2. Regular ‘listening’ time for leaders / Also known as one on ones: Sometimes great reminders come from extreme cases.  There is a study shared in the book SWAY (p. 120) about what factors influenced how convicted felons felt about the judicial process.  In the end, it came down to one variable (and it was NOT whether they were found guilty):  How much time had their lawyer spent with them.  People feel better about their jobs, their companies, etc. when leaders spend time with them.
  3. Dedicated visibility time: Plug 30 minutes into your schedule Monday am and Friday pm (or even after weekly/monthly meetings) to just walk around armed with simple questions like:  What’s occupying your mind this week?  What was a high point for this week/weekend?  What do you wish had happened differently?

None of these fit into a box, but they are habits that, when done over time, will make a measurable difference in how people feel and will keep you (the leader) better connected to the business.