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Good recognition technique creates big benefits

By Kim Harrison,

Consultant, Author and Principal of

Recognition of a person’s good work is a powerful psychological motivator because it reinforces desired behavior of the recipient. Praise and recognition are all too rare and given badly by most. This is one of the big tragedies in our society.

Some of the most financially successful people I have ever encountered have been driven by this urge for other people to acknowledge their value. My first job was with Alan Bond, one of the richest men in Australia. Of all people, he didn’t seem to need validation of his worth. But late one night at the company’s boozy New Year’s Eve party I saw him seeking approval of all those around him, including young recruits like me. It was a telling moment. He was just like us in seeking recognition; in fact it was probably a major factor in his drive for success.

If you give due recognition for good work you will earn respect as a leader. If you do it at work you will increase the satisfaction and productivity of those who are touched by it. What’s more, you can recognize others at no financial cost! Recognition can be given informally or in formal corporate programs. You can learn more about how to give recognition in the free articles on that topic in my website, and in my e-book: Creative Ideas for Employee Recognition:

In his blog, expert US business coach, Marshall Goldsmith, has also outlined a systematic way to give recognition to deserving people, including family and friends, not just work colleagues. He says this is a guaranteed formula to work. Try it and see how you go:

  1. List the names of the key groups of people that impact your life – both at work and home.

  2. Write down the names of the people in each group.

  3. Post your list in a place you can’t miss seeing regularly.

  4. Twice a week – once on Wednesday, once on Friday – review the list and ask yourself, “Did anyone on this list do something that I should recognize?”

  5. If someone did, stop by to say, “Thank you,” make a quick phone call, leave a voice mail, send an email or jot down a note.

  6. Don’t do anything that takes up too much time. This process needs to be time-efficient or you won’t stick with it.

  7. If no one on the list did anything that you believe should be recognized, don’t say anything. You don’t want to be hypocrite or a fake. No recognition is better than recognition that you don’t really mean.

  8. Stick with the process. You won’t see much impact in a week – but you will see a huge difference in a year.




About the Author

Kim Harrison is a recognized authority in the public relations field. His website,, provides a wealth of informative articles and resources on public relations techniques and management.


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