Squeeze In Some Recognition Time, Right Now!

I keep hearing people have no time for recognition.

Time is the number one reason given by managers around the world for not recognizing the people they work with.

Yet, when I use a timer to time people on how long it takes to praise or acknowledge someone, it takes very little time to give recognition.

So…lets squeeze in some recognition time, right now!

Are you ready?

On your marks. Get set. Go!!

“On your marks, get set, go!” is the three-step command called out to all running competitors at the start of any race.

I am cuing you up to give some well deserved recognition to someone today.

It could be someone you observe doing work above and beyond their normally expected work duties: completing a report before due; staying overtime to get a shipment out; helping an elderly customer online with how to access their account one slow step at a time.

You might want to acknowledge the person who faithfully does their job, day in and day out, who has no opportunity to shine beyond doing their part each day.

And when someone does stand out in his or her work, do you still take the time to go and thank them?

On Your Marks

This means get in your lane.

You have to psych yourself up to both find someone to express appreciation to as well as getting out of your lane to go out and give it.

You must get in the zone or mindset of having gratitude for the great things going on where you work. Think of the people you know working behind the scenes who support those who always seem to get acknowledged because they’re so visible.

Always be on the lookout and observe the amazing work people do.

Find them and tell them how much you appreciate what they do.

I have had hotel catering staff stunned yet grateful for the thanks I have given them for cleaning my table spot. And especially when I use their first name identified on the nametags they always wear.

Thank the people in your day-to-day life that you take for granted. Have you ever thanked the garbage (trash / rubbish) collector in your neighborhood? I have. It is always fun to see their facial expressions. Rarely do they get thanked.

Get Set

You have to get into your starting position or get into your blocks.

Before you become expert at giving spontaneous recognition, you will likely have to plan recognition giving into your day.

Two great time blocks for giving recognition are first thing in someone’s day and at the end of their day. In this way you are taking advantage of the psychological principles in the brain of the primacy and recency effects.

Starting to give recognition in a timely manner might require some planning supports and tools.

  • Identify the person who merits praise or recognition.
  • Write down, for your benefit, specifically the positive action you feel should be acknowledged.
  • Record the impact or difference their contribution made on people and specifically identify to who that was – you, a colleague, a customer, or the company as a whole.
  • Get your thoughts together on how you will word or show your appreciation.
  • Consider the best communication medium for this person – verbally, in person or on the phone; in writing, by text, email or a personally, handwritten note card.
  • Remember the right context. Does this person have anxiety in groups? Should you communicate your appreciation publicly or privately? Do you give this over a break period or during work? How will the time of when you give the recognition enhance or detract from the powerful message of your praise?


Run! Take off.

Go send a grateful email to someone before your day goes too much further.

Give recognition as soon as you can after you observed or were told of the action.

Make a quick call to someone who stood out for you yesterday and tell them how much you admire what they did.

Take time out at the end of your day to write and send out a few thoughtful notes of thanks to people who have made a valuable contribution to you and the company.

Before you go home, phone into an employee’s voice mail and leave them a positive message of inspiration and appreciation.

It doesn’t take a lot of time to win the recognition race.

The current men’s world record for the 100 meters distance is 9.58 seconds, set by Jamaica’s Usain Bolt. You can watch it right here.

Just remember, that in the time you clicked on that link and watched Usain Bolt run his race you could have thanked someone you’ve neglected recognizing.

Sprint to the finish line! Go and give some recognition right now!!

Question: How do you effectively make time for recognition giving?

Roy is no longer writing new content for this site (he has retired!), but you can subscribe to Engage2Excel’s blog as Engage2Excel will be taking Roy’s place writing about similar topics on employee recognition and retention, leadership and strategy.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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