Friday, May 14, 2010

The Secret To Motivation: Recognition!

Recognition and appreciation are not "once and done" events. Learn tips to create a recognition culture both at work and at home. You'll be surprised at the positive results!

By Marsha Egan

If you’d like to have energized and motivated employees or members, people who love what they are doing, and a thriving organization, then ask yourself how much of a recognition culture you have in your organization.

Recognition and appreciation are not “once and done” events. To build a recognition culture in your organization, you need to do it regularly and often. And not only you. If you have a recognition culture in your organization, people at all levels of the organization regularly thank and appreciate others for notable deeds.

And the difference between culture and procedure is huge. It is a procedure to have a performance bonus program; it is a culture to have people regularly high fiving each other, sending emails, and appreciating people publicly in meetings over even the smallest accomplishments.

Most people in business or volunteer organizations agree that they would benefit from a recognition culture. Recognition is one of the easiest, least expensive ways to motivate and energize volunteers and employees. Actually, it is mostly free! Why then, can so few boast this attribute? It might be because showing recognition is an “important but not urgent” action—the crises of the day can get in the way of someone taking a moment to appreciate an accomplishment. It might be because the people in charge believe that their employees are well paid, and that is all the motivation they need. It might be just because they forget.

I like to challenge my executive coaching clients to make recognition a habit. The more you do it, the more comfortable you will feel doing it. And the more recognition you infuse into the organization, the more positive motivation and energy you can generate within the organization. It ultimately circles back, and can actually energize YOU!

Here are some ideas you can use:

- Set a brief time each day to reflect on who accomplished a noteworthy deed. By doing this, you can “force yourself” to get in the habit of recognizing people. I like to do this at the end of my day.

- Send an email or leave a handwritten note for the person who deserves the “attagal” or “attaguy.” - Start your meetings with sincere appreciation for even the smallest accomplishments.

- Compliment people mentioning specific results in front of others.

- Publish a “hats off” column in your newsletter; encourage everyone in the organization to contribute

- Tell a person’s boss what a great job he or she did. Compliment your superior for a task well done. - Celebrate the completion of big projects.

Oh, and this works at home, too. When was the last time you thanked or appreciated your spouse or children for doing a difficult task?

If you remind yourself regularly to actively appreciate the behavior you want to see repeated, you’ll change your habits and embrace recognition and appreciation in your daily routine. And it IS contagious. The more you recognize and appreciate behavior you want to see repeated, the greater chance that it will be repeated. Recognition cultures are energized, proactive cultures. In this day and age, we need to move forward quickly. And recognition can supply the energy for that effort. It all goes to the bottom line, doesn’t it?

Marsha Egan, CPCU, PCC is CEO of The Egan Group, Inc., a Reading, PA based professional coaching firm. She is a certified executive coach and professional speaker, specializing in leadership development and can be reached at or visit .

1 comment:

  1. <Compliment people mentioning specific results in front of others.

    That works if you are real sincere.