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Effective Recognition is a P.A.R.T.Y.

June 7, 2012

by Greg Butterfield, Terryberry Partner
For some, the process of recognizing people comes as naturally as the other job functions they perform; but, for others, this can be trying and stressful.  In most instances, managers are promoted because of a unique skill set, exceptional product knowledge and/or productivity success.  These good folks arrive on the job well prepared to take on the technical challenges associated with their position, but are not necessarily as comfortable with the people management responsibilities that come with this new role.
We, at Terryberry, often refer to employees as an organization’s most valuable asset, and for good reason.  A company’s most important intellectual property is not stored on a computer hard drive, but is tucked neatly away in the minds of their experienced and engaged people.  Given this, it up to the management team to find the most effective way to encourage employees to stretch and maximize their potential, and the best way to do this is to underscore the attitudes, behaviors and contributions the organization values most.  When employees achieve in areas that have been identified as key goals and objectives, they should be recognized.  When they don’t, they should be coached.

“The most important task you have as a manager is to encourage the best performance from your employees,” writes Dr. Gerald Graham of Wichita State University.

Let’s start with the “P” in our PARTY acronym… “P” is for “People” and whether they are “Public or Private”.   The way you approach a person will greatly impact how your message is received, and to do this effectively and consistently, you must know the personalities and preferences of your people.  Some folks love the spot light; while others are very uncomfortable in this setting.  When you know your people, you’ll be sure to deliver your message in the most appropriate setting, whether up on stage or behind closed doors.
“A” stands for “Articulate”…Your words, whether written or oral, should appropriately communicate the success specifics: what this particular individual did to earn this recognition and how this impacted the organization. In doing so, not only are the attitudes, behaviors and contributions of the individual or team recognized in a meaningful and memorable way, but all those in attendance should have a clearer picture of what they will need to do if they are to earn this type of praise and appreciation going forward.
“R” stands for “Reinforce”…when employees are acknowledged for going above and beyond, this action reinforces what the manager and the organization value, and this message will reverberate throughout the entire organization.  Consistently making the connection between everyday goals and objective and an organization’s mission, vision and values is the best way to create an aligned workforce with everyone scaling the same wall.
“T – Y” stands for “Thank You”….at the end of the day, recognition is about saying thank you!  Let your people know that the organization is better for their actions.  As poet laureate, Mya Angelou wrote, “people may forget who you are and what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”


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