Catch ‘Em Doing Something Good

How important is it to be appreciated at work? It’s everything.

For years, employee surveys rank ‘feel appreciated’ as the most important factor in a job. We crave recognition from people we respect. It’s right above a big salary and free soda. Of course, great companies excel at catching their people doing something good. They know it breeds loyalty and a healthy culture.

So, why do so many get it wrong?

Meet Ray Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund. He pioneered a management style that encourages the staff to be brutally honest with each other. Employees are expected to be fully transparent and grade each other accordingly. Every day. If you have a terrific idea, co-workers might reward you with praise in the form of “positive dots”. And if you blow a project, you may be abused with “negative dots”. Too many bad dots and you’re out.

It sounds like Lord of the Flies.

Here’s my take. Remember Gallagher, the watermelon-smashing comic? He had a similar idea to punish bad drivers. “Every car should be equipped with a rubber dart gun. When you see someone make a bonehead move, roll down your window and shoot a dart on their car. Then, cops drive around and pull over cars with the most darts.”

Better yet, what if cops caught people doing something good?

Imagine getting a letter from the DMV. You rip it open, expecting a traffic cam citation. Instead, there’s a personal note: “Dear Beau, On behalf of your local police department, we noticed how you patiently waited for children in the crosswalk on Main Street last Thursday. So, please enjoy this $100 gift card along with our thanks for your safe driving.

As the word spreads, so does goodwill.

Beau Phillips is President of Rainmaker Media. 
He’s a creative marketing consultant, strategist and speaker.
Reach him at 203-256-9347 

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