Chance of a Lifetime

Dear Supervisory Managers and Friends,

This past weekend I had the opportunity to visit my hometown of Fairbanks, Alaska, where I hadn’t been since 1996. The trip was to honor and recognize my high school choir teacher, who was retiring after 35 years of teaching. She was an amazing woman who changed many lives for the better. Music was my lifeline. It gave me an identity, it gave me a circle of friends and taught me discipline. There were over 100 choir alumni that attended the event. To say the least, it was a very emotional experience for everyone.

How appropriate to be thinking about the importance of recognition and praise on this Public Service Recognition Week! I returned to work on Thursday to many little pieces of recognition and appreciation: a pack of Extra Gum that said, “Thank you for your extra effort!” A bag of microwave popcorn that said, “Just popping by to say thank you!” and a baggy of candy and personal note from my manager. It was so nice! I had a permanent smile on my face the whole day.

Recognition is one of the four drivers of employee engagement. Ask yourself, in the last seven days, have I recognized those around me for something positive? Mathematician Marcial Losada’s research of teams showed that the optimal ratio of positive to negative comments is 3:1. Challenge yourself today and next week to match that ratio with your teams. Look for what’s working on your team and recognize that. What we appreciate appreciates. Let’s focus on what gives us peak performance and use those elements to move forward.

Have a great Friday!


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