Quiz: Can You Recognize Good Performance?

[Skip to the bottom for the poll.]

It seems that the world loves certification. If the competence of a supplier can’t be determined, or testimonials aren’t available, a piece of paper with a seal and signature will often do just fine. If you can build a business around providing this certification, all the better…

Introducing the ‘Positive Recognition Accreditation Test’.

Follow these steps:

  1. Print this questionnaire.
  2. Choose the best answer for each question using an HB pencil, making sure to completely circle your answer.
  3. Attach a recent picture of yourself, and two proofs of purchase.
  4. Wad up the papers and throw them out the nearest window.
  5. Stop worrying, our process is really advanced, we will get your submission.
  6. Please allow 36-48 weeks for delivery of your certification.
  7. Once confirmed, please be sure to use ‘PRAT’ after your name, and wear your new found accreditation proudly.

The Questionnaire:

When should these meetings occur?

  1. Do them along with the corporate performance review cycle; once a year should do it.
  2. As a rule, every time you present your employee’s work as your own, you should take the time to provide them positive feedback.
  3. As close as possible to when the positive behaviour or outcomes were observed, in order to have the greatest positive benefit.

What is the best way to set up a recognition session with an employee?

  1. Inform the employee that you need to talk to them about ‘an HR issue’.
  2. “You, in my office, now!”
  3. Set up a short meeting with the employee regarding ‘positive feedback’ at a time where you can give them your undivided attention.

What is the appropriate agenda for the meeting?

  1. Set aside time to get to know each other, as this is the first time you realized that this person even reports to you.
  2. Time is money, make sure to ask the employee for other things you need to get done while they are basking in your adulation.
  3. Stick to providing the positive feedback, otherwise the session won’t really be a reward.

What is the best way to provide the feedback?

  1. Buzzwords, lots of buzzwords. e.g. “That was some real client-oriented  best-in-class hyper-collaboration in execution our game plan! You’re really taking it to the next level!”
  2. High-five, low-five, round the back, over the top handshake.
  3. Use precise, descriptive terms that indicate observed behaviours and how they related to positive outcomes.

How do you close the meeting?

  1. Say “Now go get ‘em champ!” as you smack their butt on the way out the door.
  2. Hug it out.
  3. Ask the employee to think on how to continue to build on this success, and to bring this up at the next performance & goal-setting review.

LWD 2010WK38 – How Pathetically Prophetic!


About ‘Leadership Weekly Digest’ (LWD): The goal of this weekly newsletter is to highlight quality articles from the past week –in a condensed format– that discuss leadership, with a focus on employee engagement. Much of the content comes from those we follow on Twitter, and members of the Employee Engagement Network.

You can also subscribe to the RSS Feed for LWD.

The title of LWD two weeks ago was “Your_Co Has Died, Restart?”, we didn’t intend this to be prophetic. A few days after that post, the server we host this site on was hacked, and we faced this very situation! Unfortunately, our host wasn’t able to recover a recent backup, so we lost almost a week of data, including e-mail. As a result, there was no LWD for WK37, and a lot of time has been spent finding and recreating this site on a new host. Happy we found a great new hosting provider (CharlottezWeb) who were very helpful in getting us up and running quickly (thanks Jason)!

Balancing Profit and Purpose at Whole Foods: Red Fish Blue Fish by CV Harquail

This is the third time we have featured CV, which is some kind of record. We keep a close eye on her Authentic Organizations site for posts to highlight in LWD, because she is awesome.

Problem: You are selling your customers something they like, but it is bad for the environment. How do you stop selling the product without alienating your customers?

Answer: Colour code the products, based on their impact on the environment, so that customers can make better choices for themselves, and suggest that the products will the worst environmental impact will be phased out in the future.

In this case the produce was fish, and the company was Whole foods.

But by socially conditioning their customers with this color-coding system for several months before phasing out the products, Whole Foods is trying to get buy-in from the customer by encouraging them to make more sustainable, alternative choices. Customers may learn to enjoy more sustainable seafood choices before the unsustainable choices go away. — Jessi Schoner

If they had just pulled the products, some customers would have gone elsewhere in reaction to this unilateral decision. Instead they participate in the process which leads to better outcomes for the customer, the retailer, and fish stocks.

Can you apply this to something you are trying to change?

Why Great Teams Tell Great Stories by Michael Hyatt

Regular readers will know we are big fans of the book Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath, which explains how to turn ideas into action. They conclude that book with the importance of stories in helping make a message high-impact, memorable, and even viral.

Michael Hyatt builds on this observation by  illustrating the impact that a story has in fostering innovation and consistently excellent customer service:

Breakthrough teams tell such stories frequently and with passion. It is a secret ingredient of their success. Stories are vital in helping individuals understand how world-class results are achieved and in making the possibility of doing so believable. Such tales have a way of perpetuating success. The listener retells the story and, more importantly, internalizes its message and becomes part of the story.

Mr. Hyatt provides a four-step primer on leadership storytelling:

  1. Share the truth, nothing but the truth.
  2. Catch their interest early.
  3. Tie it to your team’s core values.
  4. Keep it simple.

How Herman Miller Has Designed Employee Loyalty by Kermit Pattison

CV will not be the only repeat performance this week, as Kermit Pattison was featured in LWD WK34 for his article on Chip Conley’s Employee Pyramid.

This interview discusses how Herman Miller (yes, the maker of the cool office chairs) maintains an incredibly low attrition rate, with employees having a longish 14 average years of service. Brian Walker, CEO of Herman Miller, attributes this employee loyalty to the policy of encouraging employees to bring their ‘whole person’ to work:

We try very hard to let people bring their passions to work… All of our people have gifts and talents and are capable of doing more than their job classification. Our constant drive is to figure out how to mine that hidden talent and capability so we can use it to its fullest and so our people get the greatest enjoyment out of what they do.

This culture was fostered right from the very start with founder D.J. De Pree contrasting his view of the worker with that popularized by Henry Ford. De Pree stated “I want all of you here. I want the whole person.” This is in clear reference to Ford’s oft-quoted line “Why is it that I always get the whole person, when what I really want is a pair of hands?”

This somewhat contrarian view of the worker continues to this day, which also includes a different perspective on the role of the superstar employee than you find in most of the corporate world: “We’re not as much about superstars as having a collective of 6,000 people who are very passionate about what they do and trying to bring all their gifts and talents to it.”

So how does Herman Miller maintain this culture?

  1. Providing lots of opportunities to lead via the many ad hoc teams that are put together to solve problems. It becomes evident from watching their performance in these ad hoc teams who the new leaders should be.
  2. Not placing too much stock in fixed job titles, previous education or training on determining where in the organization you will end up.
  3. Creating cross-disciplinary teams that even span external partners. These teams deliberately create a design tension, to balance the competing desires of each function to find the best solution.
  4. Looking to salary reductions and shortened work weeks to deal with major market perturbations (like the precipitous drop in sales after the dot.com bubble burst) instead of mass layoffs.
  5. Being open with employees on the status of the business, especially when things are going to be tough.
  6. Integrating social and environmental responsibility into everything they do. HM claims this helps attract the best people, who want to work for organizations who make a difference.

A selection of our recent posts: