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.
- Resolving a customer complaint
- Submitting a great idea
- Perfect attendance for a year
- Working late to finish a project
- Being a buddy to a new employee
- Helping a co-worker finish their work
- Selling a service/product
- Recruiting a volunteer
- Working on a volunteer committee
- Compliments from co-workers
- Resourcing in-kind donations
- Fund-raising for a project
- Implementing a cost saving procedure
- Recognizing and correcting a safety violation
- Never saying, “It’s not my job”
- Answering the phone consistently using contact point standards
- Completing the most contacts
- Favorable feedback from customers/clients
- Assuring their area is always clean
- Completing a process faster than anyone else
- Having 100% participation in a class or program
- Competing their 30 day orientation period
- Learning a new skill
- Completing a level of training
- Serving as a role model to a child program participant
- Creating a new program or modifying an existing one
- Expanding enrollment
- Improvement of interpersonal skills
- Organizing a special event
- Answering the most questions in a shift
- Doing two jobs while another employee is out sick
- Getting a 100% on a maintenance cleaning check
- Fixing broken equipment within 24 hours
- Getting promoted
- Developing another employee for promotion
- Employment anniversaries
- Serving as an “interim” anything
- Calling a disgruntled customer back while off duty
- Picking up garbage outside the facility
- Always wearing staff id and/or appropriate uniform
- Getting a certification
- Going above and beyond the call of duty for a customer
- Donating money, in kinds service
- Working on a holiday
- Meeting revenue and expense goals
- Locating a lost item
- Preventing theft
- Just for being an important part of the team
Please add to this list!
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?
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 incompetence. So 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?
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
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?