When you begin to see changes in your organization resulting from the recommendations in this blog series, it’s time for the sixth step in developing an innovative climate: Begin a recognize and reward campaign. So far, you’re doing it all “rite.” You care about employees, so they care about the company. You trust them so they think you can be trusted. You ask them for ideas, they think for you. You listen to them, and they have engaged in solutions. The proverbial win-win!
Now it’s time to build momentum. It’s time to show you believe in your employees and the contributions they have made through their engagement in the company. You cannot wait until you have made or saved money to share the upside with them, or they will see it as obvious crumbs from your new cake.
This is where it’s important not to make a mistake. Remember, you have two types of contributors: extroverts and introverts. Calling an extrovert on stage to say a few words is fine. Calling an introvert up to say a few words is torture for them. The best thing for you to do is put recognition and reward in the hands of the leaders who emerged in the self-forming teams that drove change in the organization. They will know who made contributions. They will know the introverts and extroverts.
These leaders will know the prudent reward for individuals on the team. Or, they may choose to reward a group. For example, they may host an after-hours get-together (for those who can’t attend or have other obligations, they may receive a gift certificate). Or maybe everyone will receive a gift certificate. Seldom do team leaders keep the reward for themselves. If they did, they would have trouble getting anyone on their next team effort.
Also, do not underestimate the power of your acknowledgment. Your mention of people (by name) in a formal announcement and your excitement in the outcome of their engagement in helping to change the company positively will have a tremendous effect on the names that are mentioned. Also, all the readers of your praise will notice that you notice things at much better levels than the last self-centric boss they worked for.
If you know that a cost-saving idea from a group is going to save the company money. Give some of that money away to the idea generator and the idea implementation team. Remember, it will save the company money every month/year going forward. It’s worth the first couple months of savings to realize the year-after-year bump in bottom-line performance. Optimized performance in a business is a combination of business performance and human performance. Your company can either make more money through innovations sparked by your new style or spend less money through efficiencies highlighted by your new style. Both of these gains will come from the amount of recognition and reward you allocate to your employees.
Now, we’re almost there… You have optimized your current and emerging workforce through your new plan to improve your future. Now it’s time to tell you how to really optimize human performance. You’ve forgotten your most valuable intellectual bandwidth gold mine. If you can’t guess, let me tell you who they are and how they can help you in my next blog.