Recognition; it’s such a powerful tool

I took a rest and for some background noise, put the TV on. The programme was Undercover Boss. (For a full description of the programme go to )

This episode was based around a Calgary Transit where the boss went undercover to discover how the company was doing. I caught the last 10 minutes.

It was fascinating. I was really hooked on the words of the 4 people who had taken part in the programme. Rather than me try and describe what they said why not look at the video on YouTube? (I saw from minute 36 until the end). However, before you look at it ask yourself the question; what is it that the 4 people say that really seems to be important to them?

The answer: recognition!Gold Star award

Look at what each person said:

  • “I’ve never had anyone tell me that they appreciate me because of what I do for the company”
  • “At least someone recognises the job that we do”
  • “It means a lot. A little recognition, it goes a long way. It makes it all worthwhile. It is rare to get a pat on the back. Someone noticed”
  • “It feels really nice to be acknowledged”

I have often spoken of people being ‘starved’ of positive feedback, and here we have 4 people who received some really powerful and motivating comments about themselves.

So switch to your project role and ask yourself:

  1. How frequently do I recognise people in the project team and the contributions they make?
  2. How frequently do I get recognition?

Of course, I do not know the answer to these questions; they will be very personal to you. If you feel you do not receive enough recognition what are you going to do about it? If you feel you could do better in recognising people, then think how this can be done.

The above are really powerful questions for a powerful concept, a concept that contributes to motivation – an issue that is not talked about enough let alone actioned. I have long since held the view that it is easier to motivate a person by simply saying ‘thank you’, rather than the demotivating impact of not!

So why not have a go and if you do let me know how you got on – any feedback would be interesting. Over to you and good luck.





Image courtesy of pixtawan ID 10074732

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