Recognize (and Use!) the Power of Recognition

It is amazing to me how often the littlest, simplest things can be the most powerful.

Sometimes people get all caught up in wanting to make things really extraordinary and over the top and amazing but in doing so they lose the point in the first place.

I’m thinking of weddings and gender reveals and marriage proposals in particular here. It seems like many times in the quest to make these already special occasions even more special and memorable people can forget what they are supposed to be doing in the first place and why they are doing it.

It’s not to make others jealous or get the most likes on Instagram although sometimes it seems like that’s what it turns into.  

When I asked my wife to marry me, I kept it very low-key. I just took her to Africa and then laid out a simple picnic in a park and after we ate a simple seven-course gourmet meal a hot air balloon came down and landed next to us and took us on a simple safari trip over the beautiful wilds of Kenya before it landed in the middle of a simple Masai warrior dance ceremony where I then presented the ring.

I’m kidding, of course. I presented the ring during the balloon ride.

Not really. I was actually doing a lot of sailing at the time we got engaged so I took her sailing that day – something we’d done many times before – and I asked her there out on the water to marry me. No cameras, no crowds, no over-the-top performances.

Which was a good thing, because at the time I asked her, I had first asked her to hold the boat’s steering wheel (so I could get down on one knee) which she did but then when she saw what I was doing she immediately let go of the wheel and covered her mouth with her hands in surprise and, I’d like to think, joy.

Well, it was pretty windy that day, and the second she let go of the wheel, the boat spun around and nearly crashed into a nearby jetty and I almost dropped the ring trying to jump up and save the boat from careening into the rocks. Once the boat was back under control and we were safe from being wrecked, she said yes, and eighteen years later we still laugh about that day.

So how does this relate to business?

Well, here’s the simple, easy, not over-the-top thing you can do every day to make your business an amazing place to work for yourself, your employees, your clients, and even your vendors.

You may have already guessed from the title, but that simple thing you can do is recognize the people around you for their contributions and thank them for their efforts.

There is a significant shortage of positive recognition in this world but you can be part of the solution to fix that starting right now.

Just think about in your own life all the times you do something, put in the effort, or even extra effort that goes above and beyond and it seems like no one appreciates it. Or even notices. It’s not that you did it for the praise, but it’s always nice to be appreciated no matter who you are.

Well – this is as true in the workplace as it is at home or anywhere else.

People who work for you appreciate hearing that they’ve done a good job or that you are thankful that they are there. Especially if what they mostly hear are complaints, problems, or corrections!

It doesn’t take any extra time or effort to show your appreciation and let them know.

I think sometimes people think it seems weak, fake, or too hippy-ish but it really isn’t at all. And it only seems fake if you don’t mean it but are just saying it because you think you have to or are trying to use it to get something from someone. But real, honest gratitude and recognition are never wrong to give or a wasted effort.

And while you don’t do it (or shouldn’t) for any reason other than because it’s deserved, it does pay dividends. People who are happy at work do a better job, treat others better, stay longer, and cause fewer problems. People who hate where they work and the opposite and there is a real cost to having your employees hate coming to work for you.

So the lesson is to not be afraid to recognize people frequently and publicly for a job well done or even just for no particular reason other than they are there and working and helping your business succeed.

Doing it costs you nothing and it doesn’t have to be a big gesture or wait for a formal review or anything complicated. Just build the habit of appreciating the people in your business, including your customers and vendors, and letting them know.

As simple as it sounds, you’ll be amazed at how good it makes people feel and how good it will make you feel to be able to do it. Try it! You’ll like it and the benefits will be immediate. 

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