Reward and Recognition

Money is never an effective rallying point for high performance. It can’t be. Money doesn’t create energy and excitement in a bigger cause and purpose. The people who helped create the profits should share in the rewards in proportion to their contribution. But more important than the money are the messages profit and performance bonuses can send. They should make people feel like partners, not puppets on a string.

There are only two groups of people who thrive on sincere recognition and genuine appreciation — men and women. Recognition and appreciation continually show up near the top of most lists of motivational factors. They are key sources of the fun and excitement, will to win, desire to belong, and passion so vital to continually improving performance.

Highly effective leaders use a multitude of ways to build an atmosphere of success, accomplishment, and pride through recognition and appreciation. These leaders model, encourage, and support people, giving recognition and appreciation up, down, and across the organization, and within and among teams and team members. Managers who have well developed personal recognition skills and appreciation habits lead these vibrant, successful cultures.

Traditional Management Approach Leadership-Based Approach
Lead with, to manipulate, control, and direct behavior Follow with, to support organization change and improvement
Used on employees to push motivational buttons Used with people to develop meaningful systems and practices
Paternalistic pats on the head Participative, respectful partnerships
Management decides who gets rewarded and recognized for meeting their goals Customer input helps management and partners decide whom and how to reward and recognize
Assumption that performance problems are from lazy, unmotivated, and uncaring people Knowledge that poorly designed systems, structures, and processes leave people feeling powerless and uncaring

Recognition Choices:

  • Management by exception
  • Flattery and manipulation
  • Recognition and appreciation

Keys to Effective Reward and Recognition:

  • Compensation system is perceived to be fair.
  • Involves those being rewarded/recognized in its design.
  • Transparent, with lots of visibility and feedback.
  • Aligned with your goal deployment system.
  • Reinforces team/organization behaviors.
  • Avoids “recognition lotteries” or paternalistic favoritism.
  • Trains and models lots of informal recognition.
  • Recognition is as immediate as possible.
  • Celebrates the many small wins along the way.

For further reading click here and read “Recognition and Appreciation Inspires and Energizes.”

Click on each area below for more information on the Strategic Improvement Planning Process and Gap Analysis for your organization: