Who ‘wrote the book’ on recognition?

A client recently asked me, “Who ‘wrote the book’ on recognition? I’d like to recommend a book to our CEO. I’d really like to recommend something that inspires better leadership in the field of Recognition, and really gets at the heart of how it helps grow people and helps the bottom line (win-win).  Does anything come to mind?

Next Jump has a long history with recognition and the many lessons learned (I’ve written about it here, teach it in our Leadership Academy, and shared in our webinar series here to clients).

My response I thought worth sharing, as it reflects recent inspiration:

I think of recognition programs as a way to reinforce desired behaviors. Like many companies, we initially focused on outcome (the results), as the behavior that we wanted reinforced. And we did get more of that behavior (results)! As we started to look inward at HOW we got those results, we were also coincidentally starting to think about leadership in a different way (servant leadership with a bedrock of humility/growth mindset). We subsequently started to change our recognition system. The result (bottom line) does matter and compensation/promotions are largely dependent on performance. However, the behaviors of helping others (better you) was being overlooked. Our recognition system (Top 10, Avengers) were the tools we used to start to reinforce desired behavior of HOW ones gets the results – i.e. leads the (right) way.

I’m going to recommend two videos and a book that might be helpful place to start. While they are less about “recognition,” they are around leadership, types of character and behaviors we have found crucial in building a high performance culture. We then recruit, recognize and coach (starting with ourselves and then teaching others) for these behaviors.

  1. Enhancing Human Capital. Lt Kevin Basik – presenting to our senior leaders. He is a Senior Officer at PACE – basically the Leadership Academy in the Air Force. Almost like an hour TED Talk – but speaks to inspiring better leadership.
  2. Simon Sinek on Millennials in the Workplace – relevant right now on a topic right now – how organizations are struggling to adjust to the needs/expectations of newest generation of workers.
  3. The Only Way to Win by Jim Loehr. Jim is the founder of Human Performance Institute – coached 40 #1 athletes, top military and top leaders in organization. Speaks to the notion that character can be built (grown like muscles). I believe that recognition can reinforce those behaviors you want to reinforce.

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