Power of Personal Recognition.

By Chris Lott | Management, Sales | 7813 Views | 4 Comments    

My experience with giving recognition using certificates, trophies, and gift cards, quite honestly, has been somewhat blasé. I’m never sure it has accomplished the goal that I had intended. Many times it was received with a lackluster thanks. Maybe I was at fault with my presentation… criteria used? What has been your experience?


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With that said… my recipients still put their rewards in a conspicuous place for all to see. Because, you see, no matter how it’s presented everyone still likes to be acknowledged. My goal, and should be yours, is to take this powerful tool up a notch however. With a little tweaking, and if properly executed, recognition can be a great motivator and loyalty builder for any sales force.

For those Giving Recognition:

Personal Recognition is Necessary for Top Performance
Seems like a no-brainer to me and yet I don’t see a lot of this going on in smaller teams and when it does in larger teams it’s not very meaningful. The certificate presentation with a nervously presented generic praise is better than nothing but comes off insincere many times. So how do you make it meaningful and sincere?

An example of this was when I received stock options personally for some competitive work I did. While that was extremely cool the founder took it up a notch. He put a personal note on the options page congratulating me on my specific work. What a motivator!

“People may take a job for more money, but they often leave it for more recognition.” -Bob Nelson

Recognition should have a personal touch. Not some generic compliment but specific to what the accomplishment was. How did it help the company? It needs to be genuine.

5 Hot Items for Successful Personal Recognition Giving

    1.) Have a purpose. Is it a meaningful reward and recognition system?
    2.) Don’t wait… along with evaluations/appraisals offer on the spot kudos!
    3.) If you’re having a rough time giving out recognitions re-think your criteria.
    4.) Believe it or not… a money reward rarely works.
    5.) Choose an award that will highlight the achievement in a special way.

For those Receiving Recognition:

It’s OK to Receive Kudos
One of the issues that I’ve had with recognition giving is the lack-luster attitude from the recipient. They seem embarrassed in receiving recognition which makes me a little uncomfortable giving it. Seriously… who doesn’t like getting kudos. I know I do. So why do they act like it’s a pain?

Answer… self-esteem. We all tend to look at the total picture of ourselves and many times find that picture lacking. The fact of the matter is we can be admired for parts and pieces of what we do. There is no need to “fluff-off” this recognition. It’s OK to be recognized and act grateful for the reward.

The recipient needs to realize that they don’t have to be perfect to be deemed competent. Express this in some way to the team prior to recognition. A clear understanding of how and why a reward is being given is extremely helpful. It also keeps others from making judgement calls on the worthiness of the recipient.

The Power of Personal Recognition
I wish I could tell you that I’ve always been really good at this. Not true. Many times I found myself waiting until the last minute before a company meeting putting together a certificate and presenting such with a generic thanks. Shame on me. I have changed my ways however. Taking some time and effort to prepare my recognition presentation… I now enjoy an increased loyalty and respect from my team. They are inspired to do more. Goal accomplished! I can’t recommend this enough. Start today with genuine and sincere praise and you will see, first hand, the power of personal recognition.

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Chris Lott has this crazy creative side that motivates him to design websites and write articles. He's a disruptive technologist and is passionate about sales, family, and anything related to technology. See what others are saying about his work!.


4 thoughts on “Power of Personal Recognition.

  1. Chris,

    Good topic and coincidentally, I just aired a radio show this morning that lends itself well to this topic. The show is on Experience Mapping Employees into their strengths.

    The high points is that when we ignore employees, they stand a 40% chance of becoming “Actively Disengaged” from their job. If we focus on their weaknesses, they stand a 22% chance of becomeing “Actively Disengaged” and if we recognize them for their strengths they stand only a 1% chance of becoming “Actively Disengaged” from their job.

    The question is, do you want “Actively Engaged” or Actively Disengaged” employees taking care of your customers, internal and external to your business?

    You can hear the whole show at:

    Look for the audio player on the left hand side of that page.

    NOTE: Stats came from the book: Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath (recommended to me by Mary Gersema from Employers Resource)

  2. Pretty much the same… At our company there are lots of cool sales incentives like IPads and Mac Laptops that the Presales guys can’t qualify for. Anything I do for the Presales guys is in the $100 range. When I present them with a recognition award I get a polite handshake and a thank you, but as soon as I’m gone, I know what they are saying. Now they’re jaded. Honestly, I’ve had better response just giving public recognition then privately treating them and their spouse to a nice dinner or a getaway. Then I bury it in my expense budget.

  3. Chris: I want to echo the importance of making the praise specific and personal. When I was in my 1st general counsel job at a software company 15 years ago, the VP of Sales gave me a plaque at the annual kick-off dinner. It was for a specific accomplishment – cutting our sales closing cycle time by 80% – and it was personal. The plaque is enscribed “Michael Oswald – Mr. Can Do!” I still proudly display that plaque!


  4. I love your genuine desire to see people grow, Chris and that you take the time to share the wisdom you have gained through trial and error. Thank you

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