Let's Go To The Oasis
For yet another perspective, I am reminded of the response by Thomas Watson to an engineer who, having taken a risk that resulted in an expensive failure, volunteered his resignation. Watson replied, “You can’t be serious. We’ve just spent $10 million educating you.” If intelligent risk-taking is a behavior you wish to encourage, you have to recognize the effort, not just the result.
Setting clear objectives, desired outcomes and standards of performance will facilitate the identification of behavior above and beyond. Without them, efforts to identify the really extraordinary are doomed to failure.
Customers have no trouble in
identifying truly outstanding performance when they
receive it. It was a product or service that went beyond
satisfying them; it surprised them, delighted them. In
evaluating individual or team performance, set up a
process for getting feedback from customers, internal or
external.Yes, we believe there is still a very definite
and significant place for individual recognition. We have
long been proponents of a greater focus on team building
and team performance than most organizations provide.
However, we believe that the emphasis on the importance
of teams should not be at the expense of understanding
and recognizing the value of individual contributions. It
is not a question of which, but of both! Consider for a
One effective approach for reinforcing both individual and team values is to identify extraordinary individual performance, but to always ask that person what others (individuals or teams) made significant contributions to the achievement. Who provided critical help? Then be sure to include them in the recognition.
Technical and engineering
organizations that lead the pack in “fresh new
ideas” on recognizing professional staffs are
experiencing excellent results with:
Many of the formal approaches to recognition that are often seen as “fluff” as you describe it, stem from their artificial nature. The most effective recognition of all—on a sustained basis—continues to be the simple but sincere “thank you” from the boss or from the customer. Virtually every manager needs help in doing this better. Whether at the “water cooler,” over lunch or in a letter to home, the heartfelt spontaneous expression of appreciation for a job well done can do more than all the planned events to put a smile on the face and a spring in the step.