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.