I attend a lot of conferences. Often they are centered around leadership and human resources. And lately the popular theme choice has been “Next”, “Shift”, “Evolve”…..you get the idea. Change and Re-invention is heavy on the agenda…and for good reason. What got us here likely won’t be good enough to get us there…
Typically I am attending a conference to keynote/speak. And usually I try and attend a few of the other relevant sessions to my practice to listen and learn.
Recently I had the pleasure of watching a terrific presentation on effective recognition. Such a powerful driver of engagement and culture and so often a big missed opportunity among management and leadership ranks. The presentation was both strategic and tactical, offering some very specific recommendations.
And while I thought most of the preso was spot on there was a recommendation I can’t get out of my mind…..the awarding of casual day stickers as a benefit or “treat.”
I couldn’t help but picture myself back in the mainstream game running a large sales organization and having someone from the HR organization coming into the bullpen to hand out stickers…….because I am quite certain I wouldn’t be playing the sticker game…. And I couldn’t help but think, neither would so many of the strategic, talented and progressive HR professionals I know.
A few thoughts about culture and recognition. Great employees want Sr. Leadership to care about them….they want to do meaningful work….be invested in and developed….and be both appreciated and rewarded for their contributions. They want trust….and the freedom and autonomy to contribute to the results.
In the past I have maintained a casual business dress code in the office. And it was unnecessary. My players knew when to suit it up. And when you don’t, jeans work just fine.
I cannot speak specifically to leading another functional area of the business but I do know that most great salespeople don’t want stickers and treats….they want to WIN. Create a culture that puts them in the very best position to do that…support and invest in them…and yes, recognize and reward them aggressively. Then get out the way….and let them bring the rain!
Recognition and Appreciation are essential ingredients to building a Passion Culture. Increasingly they are requisite leadership competencies. And I think it’s probably a good idea to leave the stickers at home.