50 Reasons to Recognize and Reward Employees

 When was the last time you were recognized by your supervisor? We all like to be recognized, but most of our time is spent catching people doing something wrong – so walk the talk and use this list of 50 reasons to practice the Art of Appreciation.

  1. Resolving a customer complaint
  2. Submitting a great idea
  3. Perfect attendance for a year
  4. Working late to finish a  project
  5. Being a buddy to a new employee
  6. Helping a co-worker finish their work
  7. Selling a service/product
  8. Recruiting a volunteer
  9. Working on a volunteer committee
  10. Compliments from co-workers
  11. Resourcing in-kind donations 
  12. Fund-raising for a project
  13. Implementing a cost saving procedure
  14. Recognizing and correcting a safety violation
  15. Never saying, “It’s not my job”
  16. Answering the phone consistently using contact point standards
  17. Completing the most contacts
  18. Favorable feedback from customers/clients
  19. Assuring their area is always clean
  20. Completing a process faster than anyone else
  21. Having 100% participation in a class or program
  22. Competing their 30 day orientation period
  23. Learning a new skill
  24. Completing a level of  training
  25. Serving as a role model to a child program participant
  26. Punctuality
  27. Creating a new program or modifying an existing one
  28. Expanding enrollment
  29. Improvement of interpersonal skills
  30. Organizing a special event
  31. Answering the most questions in a shift
  32. Doing two jobs while another employee is out sick
  33. Getting a 100% on a maintenance cleaning check
  34. Fixing broken equipment within 24 hours
  35. Getting promoted
  36. Developing another employee for promotion
  37. Employment anniversaries
  38. Serving as an “interim” anything
  39. Calling a disgruntled customer back while off duty
  40. Picking up garbage outside the facility
  41. Always wearing staff id and/or appropriate uniform
  42. Getting a certification
  43. Going above and beyond the call of duty for a customer
  44. Donating money, in kinds service
  45. Working on a holiday
  46. Meeting revenue and expense goals
  47. Birthdays
  48. Locating a lost item
  49.  Preventing theft
  50. Just for being an important part of the team

Please add to this list!

Why Gail isn’t a Post Turtle.

I recently had the great fortune to meet with and interview Gail Southwell, the first woman negotiator for Ford Motor Company.  I asked her about a “post turtle” moment – when she initially felt trapped and unable to move, but then figured out how to ’get off the post’. 

Gail was in her first week in a new facility with 500 people in a call center.  She quickly learned that due to a computer software issue, the employees hadn’t been paid in over two weeks – which was not only wrong, but wasn’t legal.  Employees were upset and the controller (the GM was out of town) told her he simply couldn’t print checks.  She went to management in Detroit – and got the same answer.  At this point she was starting to feel like that turtle on a post – unable to move forward or backward – yet she knew people had to get paid. 

In a move that took hard call courage, Gail had her staff use their corporate credit cards to withdraw enough cash to meet the payroll.  They set up booths and made sure employees got paid.  The controller was furious – turns out he could have cut the checks, just chose not to do so.  He told her she’d be fired when the GM returned.  The GM was delighted, however because  the problem was resolved creativelym helping employees understood they were valued.  Gail Southwell made a hard call to do the right thing.  That took guts.  Proof that great leaders are never “post turtles”. 

When have you had the courage to do the right thing?

Are You A Post Turtle Leader?

It’s a phrase entering our language:   “Post Turtle” leadership.  When you see a turtle on a post, you know someone before you put the turtle on the post, it can’t move forward or backward, and it can’t get off.   It’s been borrowed by leadership consultants to describe leaders who didn’t get there by themselves, who don’t belong in leadership, who can’t get anything done. 

 I don’t buy it!  First, the accusation about leaders who didn’t get there by themselves is partly accurate.  Many times we follow a leader who has done immeasurable harm.  While we make every effort to find out what we’re getting into in a leadership role, there are, however, surprises that simply couldn’t have been predicted.  Leaders have to be prepared to make hard calls that will change their circumstances.   If you were lied to or the facts were disguised, you have the ability to either refuse to lead in a culture that refuses to practice ethics or to change that culture’s ethics. You’re not stuck!

 The second accusation is about leaders who don’t belong in leadership.  This usually occurs as a result of the Peter Principle – every employee rises to his level of incompetenceSo what should leaders do when they aren’t a fit for the job?  Leave and find a job that is a fit!  Life is too short to not spend it in your sweet spot.  One day you will roll out of bed and wonder what happened to the last 15 years of your life.  It’s a hard call, but for business leaders who squarely face the facts about their strengths, talents and skills and find a mismatch, the right thing to do is to make a change – to get off the post.

 The third accusation is that post turtle leaders can’t get anything done.  Leadership is about building relationships, collaborative interests, and creating energy that gets things done.  It may require skillful negotiation, transparency, paradigm shifts, or just plain trust building.  A true leader is one who gets things done in spite of opposition and difficulties.

Next week I interview the first woman negotiator from Ford Motor Company about her “post Turtle” moment.  How about you – how have you defied “Post Turtle” leadership?

Franklin Flood – Don’t Fear the Reaper



Don’t Fear the Reaper is a classic rock song from the 1976 that advocated suicide.  As I walked this morning among the flood ravaged homes, mud, dumpsters and insulation, I encountered a grim reaper placed in front a house – a clear message from the family living there there that death and destruction had visited.  It was a skeleton wrapped in dark burlap holding a scythe.  The Spirit within me cried “NO!”.  While it may look like all is despair and destruction, it is in the death of a seed that a new tree springs forth.  I was convicted from that moment on and prayed for each family in the houses marked with water lines and mud that I passed.  We don’t need to fear the reaper – not because death is beautiful, but because we put our hope in God and He promises the reaper doesn’t have the victory. 

Why are you in despair, O my soul; Why so distrubed within me;  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.   Psalms 42:11

Avoiding Mixed Messages on Integrity


Google recently pulled out of the Chinese market because their servers were being hacked by the Chinese government as part of an effort to censor the free flow of information.  Two recent Wall Street Journal columns commended Google for standing up for their corporate principles.  John Bolton in his column said that Google had sent a message to businesses worldwide about standing for principle.  Google has been on the end of some very positive press as a result of this decision to do “what’s right.”

Interestingly, a column in USA Today took a totally different perspective.  Ted Fishman wrote about how incredibly alike China and Google are because they both “derive their present strength from their skill at appropriating and organizing information according to the rules that suit them.”  He went on to describe how Google was force to apologize to 8000 Chinese authors for scanning and releasing their books without permission.  In his opinion, when Google pulled out of China, the company was simply protecting trade secrets from hackers and principles had little to do with their decision.

Why two diametrically opposed opinions of Google’s choice?  It’s a matter of observation and perspective.  To those who value human rights, the choice by Google to pull out could be celebrated as a company which took a stand for what’s right and which others can model.  To those who have seen Google trample on authors’ rights, they concluded that the company simply made a choice to protect its company secrets.

That’s the debate at the heart of issues about integrity.  When we define integrity as aligning our actions with our values and doing what’s right, defining right is key.  It is critical for leaders to make sure core operating principles of a business are clearly defined in terms of what those principles look like in action.  If we don’t, we send mixed messages about who we are and how we do business – like Google.  What do you think?