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How often do you say, “Great job?”

How we usually do this in our businesses.

The best managers we all know are the ones who take the time to praise good work in public, before an employee’s peers.  Most of us have a monthly award for the top person in a group of employees. And if we are big enough to formalize the process in a regular meeting, we make it a regular part of that meeting.

And why it doesn’t work as planned.

If you have not already discovered this fact, such a process quickly becomes routine and predicable.  Small companies have trouble finding new people to honor after a while.  Some employees even disingenuously consider the process an exercise in pandering, discounting the effectiveness of the award, and disenchanting those very managers who thought they were reaching out to do a good thing.

Don’t wait for a scheduled meeting date.

For all of us, we should remember that the best possible way to honor great work is to do so immediately.  A “Great job!” coming at the right moment from the boss is valued as an honest recognition of good work, especially if done in front of an employee’s peers.

My story of unusual but powerful team recognition

[Email readers, continue here…]   At times, it is an entire team that deserves the recognition, again immediately after doing a great job.  I found a formula that worked for me where most of the employees were in several buildings on the same campus.  First arranging for my assistant to obtain the appropriate amount of hundred dollar bills from the bank, and then to follow me around checking off names, I had my own personal holiday celebrating each individual in the team with a handshake, words of thanks, and a C-note.  With lots of laughter and thanks, the celebration and words “Great Job” made for a completely memorable event.  And those pop-up thank you visits from the boss certainly contributed to the culture of the company.  Word does travel.

Remember to reward those not present at the moment, and remember that the amount should be grossed up to take care of taxes and be entered onto the payrolls of the employees so rewarded.

I’m sure you have your own way to making “Good job!” work for you and your team.   Just try not to make it so regular and predictable that it loses its value.

  • Michael O'Daniel

    Praise and recognition are better motivators than money. Of course, combining money with the two is a force multiplier. 🙂

    So is soliciting feedback, actively listening to it, acting upon it (one way or another), and then informing the employe(es) who provided the feedback what the outcome was.

    This type of recognition helps build a culture and can produce exponential results.

  • Don Kasle

    Dave — Great topic in your Insight of “Great Job.” As a former CEO of 3 large banks, I had 3 rules when, (as the “One Minute Manager” suggests), I tried to Catch People Doing Something Right:
    1 == When you go to acknowledge them and their contribution — go to their office or workstation. Don’t have them come to yours;
    2 == Bring other co-workers into the recognition meeting so the employee is honored in front of his/her peers;
    3 == Don’t talk about anything else but the recognition at the Recognition Meeting. The recognition looses its impact if you get into discussions about other work issues. Come back and have that discussion later in the day.
    These 3 rules helped a good recognition become a GREAT recognition.

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