A few weeks ago I starting an Annual Planning Session for a client. I reached into my backpack and pulled out a large bag of candy.
For those of you who have been to one of my sessions, you’ll know this isn’t really anything special. I always have some sort of a sweet treat for sessions (which is funny because I don’t eat them).
This time though, I didn’t hand out the candy.
“You may NOT help yourself to this bag of candy”, I started.
“This is the bag of recognition. Over the next two days, every time someone lives a core value or behaviour, comes up with a great idea, does something courageous, or is just plain awesome, you offer them a candy.”
Within the first 15 minutes, I handed out the first candy. Shortly thereafter, someone else handed out a candy.
By the end of the first day, everyone was in the spirit, and mostly everyone in the room had received a candy, or in some cases many candies.
When the introvert on the team accepted the magic pen of facilitation and led the group through an exercise, he got two candies. When the marketing person challenged the head of sales, another candy. They were recognizing each other for being at their best. It was awesome!
Later in the day we talked about the importance of recognizing people for living core values and the behaviours you want to see.
“Why do you think I brought the bag of candy?” I asked
“Encouraging diabetes?” one of the team answered sarcastically.
Recognizing when people do great things at important times like town hall meetings is great and valuable, but the biggest impact comes at the moment they’re living the value. That instant feedback will create and reinforce behavioural changes quickly.
There’s also a lot of value in peer recognition. It’s great when a leader recognizes you, but the impact is very different when it’s someone on your team recognizing you.
Many of us have values for our business. That’s an important first step, but to create more than just words on a wall, you need to turn them into behaviours and recognizing them so they become part of your company’s DNA.
The bag of recognition is a great way to get started.