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Last week I attended a concert with my wife at one of the world class theme parks here in Florida.  The crowd was so large we were forced to stand.  Throughout the concert a little girl about 4 kept running back & forth between her Mom and Dad looking for praise and recognition.  This went on for several minutes.  It was not only fascinating to watch, it gave me my theme for this post.........Recognition.  This little girl wanted her Dad to pay attention to her and ring praise upon her.  It worked!  Dad did so throughout the show, and the little girl was very happy.  As I planned this post, I thought about the many management sessions I have attended where we were told about recognizing the people that report to us.  You know what.......it works!  Recognition is not only important for little children, it is a vital piece of the fabric of our lives, especially in the daily business grind.

  Catch people doing something right is a phrase that has stuck with me for decades.  The grand managment guru Tom Peters used this phrase in a seminar I attended in the 80's.  It was an amazing ah-ha moment, but it also felt so obvious, and yet we rarely seem to sing praise on our people or even our paying guests.  Wow, why not.  In a very tough business climate, where cash is tight, we know we cannot afford large raises, big bonuses, or even decent sized recognition stipends.  We can however create a great atmosphere with a combination of recognition, small awards, and gifts, and continued coaching and praise.  Here are five thoughts on recognizing people in order to create excellence in your business.

  1. Create a plan of recognition with your managers which may include small cash awards and gifts that people can really use
  2. You can only "catch people doing something right" if you and the managers are out walking around and observing.  It seems today that too many managers idolize their computers
  3. Always work to make certain a recognition program feels fresh and new.  It should not be obvious or built on a "schedule" of recognition as in an employee of the month plaque
  4. As you observe your team, it is as important to coach people when they require support and correction.  The more you observe, the better the team becomes
  5. When this program is in place, know that the staff will work to get praise and recognition, just as that 4 year old girl at the theme park.

  Once a program has been announced and in motion, be sure to keep it alive, to change it up, and to keep it fresh & make it fun.  This will be an essential part of the management style.  You may add a quarterly or annual event that provides a grander stage to show thanks for efforts tried and successes achieved.  In our business today, we cannot afford large salaries or bonuses, we must however show our people they have great value.  We must keep the volume of energy high, especially in our world of service and fun!  A pat on the back and a "great job" can be a vital part of your business mission.  Never miss the chance to recognize people when they create a winning moment.


Jack Dillon is the author of the highfives post.  Jack is an advanced speaker and expert of all thongs golf and operations.  Call Jack at 407-973-6136.  He can show you a better way to grow sales, success, and fun!  Jack lives in Orlando.  Thank you.




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