The High Impact and Low Cost of Recognition

Human beings are hard-wired to crave recognition. When we know that others are seeing us in a positive light, our brains release a few chemicals into our systems that makes us feel good both physically and emotionally. This feeling encourages us to engage or move towards the source that triggered it. In short, we move closer because we want more of that feeling.

A Brave Thing to Do

This company is the result of the merger of two smaller businesses, each of which brought very strong leaders to the table. They like and respect one another, and everyone believes the business combination was a good idea. They’re committed to creating one business, one team and one culture. They also are very inclusive and don’t want anyone to feel shut out.

Bad Apples and Culture

At the start of a recent client session, as we were going around the table and checking in, the Head of Finance said this:

“Since Tim left, the mood in my department is much better. In fact, it’s not just my department. It seems like across the entire company, the mood is better, the energy level is higher, and people are getting more done.”

Using a Scorecard to Turn Risk into Profit

Several years ago, I led a company that grew and distributed perennial plants. Located in the Midwest, our selling season was quite short, putting a premium on quick decision-making while “in-season” to maximize revenues and profitability. Hours, days and weeks mattered, not months. One of our biggest customers was a large home-improvement chain. They set very aggressive expectations for their vendors, but at the same time, they weren’t especially well-organized against the demands of a short selling season. They often made it hard for us to make the quick decisions required for us to serve them efficiently and profitably.

Living Your Ideal Life

In business and life, we sometimes lose sight of why we do the things we do. In our hamster-wheel efforts to complete our endless to-do lists, it’s easy to become lost in the details of what occupies our time, our energy and financial resources. Most of us rarely stop and ask ourselves the simple question, “why?” In this environment, we lose sight of the reality that our businesses, though important and profoundly personal, are really just a means to an end, not the end itself. We forget to ask ourselves why doing what we do day-in and day-out is important.

Are Your Eyes Bigger Than Your Stomach?

When my siblings and I would help ourselves to large servings of food, my father would often ask, “Are your eyes bigger than your stomach?” It was his way of teaching us to pace ourselves. There was abundance—more than we could eat, which meant that if we took modest helpings and finished them, we could always have more. His fear was that our oversized portions would result in waste.

One Giant Leap and “The Vision Thing”

The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing on July 20 brought back some old memories. For my generation, Neil Armstrong’s first step onto the lunar surface is one of those few events in history where you can remember exactly where you were and what you were doing. I remember staying up a little late on a Sunday night and huddling around the TV with the rest of my family to watch him take the first step and utter those famous words: “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Does Your Team Have Swing (Part II)?

In a recent post, I shared with you the concept of “swing” that Daniel James Brown describes in his book The Boys in the Boat. Swing is that magic synchronicity great rowing teams achieve where every flex, pull and muscle twitch is perfectly aligned. It’s the secret to the success of teams that win championships. It’s also very similar to the kind of powerful alignment teams running their businesses on EOS®, the Entrepreneurial Operating System®, achieve.