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Take Time to Recognize the Who

When I write, I tend to focus on engagement styles or the customer – the importance of the experience, the need for loyalty and to establish a relationship. But...what about the "experience" of those with whom we work? How do they feel about you, the team or the company? What's their interest in the work you do? And, are they excited to come in and tackle the day's challenges?

It's so easy for us to overlook what's right in-front of us; at work, at home, out in the wild. Since moving to California, I've noticed a trend around town for people to often ask "How's your day going?". As a born and raised east-coaster, you can imagine my immediate thought of "What do you care?". But actually, people do care; and it's wonderful. Even though I'll only know my barista for less than 2 minutes (5 minutes in California) while she or he prepares my $4 latte ($6 in California), we are establishing a relationship and more importantly, it's welcoming me in and offering my brain a minute from the hustle and bustle of the typical daily routine.

So, in some ways, I've adopted this. Asking more about how my colleagues are doing and inquiring about their interests. Understanding what's truly important to them, and to be honest, I think about those people more now.

Going out of your way to offer them some incentive to stick with it through the difficult times, or take a few extra minutes to nail a problem and keep it closed – it's critical to the success of anything you're trying to build. Show that appreciation. Demonstrate that you care and that the effort is recognized.

Over the years, we’ve played around with a few different ideas for recognition of our employees and those around us. There are a lot of ways we do this, but we’ve been working on a way to make some of it less formal, more genuine and most importantly, when it’s deserved (regardless of how often). With this comes a hand-written (yes, I said hand-written) note to recognize the good work. There is no financial incentive. There's no bonus or downstream impact to one's job function. Just honest to goodness, genuine feeling that shows how I feel about another person's work one, twice or ten times. Good, quality work is worth applauding and this system ensures we recognize people without anyone else ever knowing. And the “thanks” I get is terrific; I know it was received and appreciated.

The people who come in and out of your life impact you more than you realize. Go through some old photo albums (we know, they're on Google or Amazon's servers now rather than fading in an album your house), but it's incredible to see the way your experiences can touch and impact your life and others. Take time to recognize who, not just what.