Breaking Through The Recognition Deficit

By: David Novak, Co-Founder & CEO of David Novak Leadership

When was the last time you felt truly appreciated? What did the person say or do to recognize you? How did you respond to the recognition?

Let’s consider these questions from a different angle. When was the last time YOU recognized someone? How did you recognize them? A simple thank you? A heartfelt note explaining specific ways this person impacted you? What was the response?

I’m a firm believer that there is a Global Recognition Deficit, and this isn’t just a gut-feeling I have. There’s been lots of research on this subject. KRC Research conducted an online survey of 1,000 nationally representative U.S. adults, ages 18 or older to determine how big this Global Recognition Deficit is. Here’s what was discovered when employees were asked how they felt about recognition on the job:

While this may be the trend, there are leaders who take the time to recognize others. Consider this story that Colin Powell shared with me. When Colin was a kid, he worked at a Pepsi Bottling Plant. Every day, Colin mopped up syrup off the floor. At the end of the summer, the foreman came up to Colin and said, Son, I have watched you every single day. You’ve done such a great job. You never left until the floors were spick and span. Colin shared this story with me after his term ended as Secretary of State. The words of the foreman are still remembered and taught Colin about the power of recognition. I remember him telling me, I learned from that foreman the power of recognition. It said to me somebody’s watching. As I have traveled the world I have learned that people crave recognition everywhere – from London to Laos to Las Vegas. That’s why I’m spending so much of my time building awareness and attacking the Global Recognition Deficit.

It’s amazing to me that recognition is still vastly underused in business, and also in life. I think it’s a crime. And unless we take action to start recognizing others, this Global Recognition Deficit will continue.

the power of recognitionOften people think of recognition as the kind of fluffy feel-good stuff that businesses talk about to try to make their employees happy. But if used right, it does a whole lot more than that. Simply put, if you give people genuine appreciation and acknowledge the unique things people have to offer, then you will drive real results. And at the same time, you will lift the spirits of everyone involved. It really does feel good to receive recognition, and it feels every bit as good to give it – often even better.

My wife, Wendy, tells me that one of the reasons I love recognition so much is because I love getting it. And I think I’m no different than anyone else. People love to get recognized for what they do. I once received a real Tuba from the Yum! Brands Board of Directors.

The card that came with the Tuba read:

To David Novak: Congratulations on Taking People With You becoming a best seller! Thanks for sharing your tremendous leadership lessons with others, and for using your new book to blow the horn for Yum! all around the globe. YUM! TO YOU!

David Novak recognition and tubaThe Tuba is engraved with the signatures of each board member and is proudly displayed in my office. This is special to me because it confirmed that people were excited about learning to lead more effectively through the principles in Taking People with You. When I look at the Tuba, it inspires me to keep sharing these leadership lessons with people like you through David Novak Leadership.

Sometimes you don’t realize the power behind the recognition you give to others. I once recognized a KFC Restaurant General Manager in India for being a top performing manager. Along with the floppy chicken, he also received a $100 bill. Years later, this same manager was attending the KFC Convention in Wales. He was invited to spend a day sightseeing in London, but he wasn’t going because money was tight and he had to support his family to make ends meet. When one of the guys offered him money, another guy said, Don’t offer him money. He always has $100 in his wallet. The manager from India explained he could never spend the $100 because it meant so much to him. In fact, the actual award broke, but he kept the $100 in his wallet to remind him he could do a good job every day. Being recognized years before continued to inspire the manager to do his best.

How to Break Through the Recognition Deficit

Mother Teresa provides some interesting insight on the Global Recognition Deficit: “There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.” The need for recognition is real and each one of us has the power to break through the Global Recognition Deficit by taking time to show appreciation to others. The two most powerful words in the English language are thank and you. They are easy to say, and it doesn’t cost you a thing to use them! This guide provides you with lots of information and inspiration about making recognition a habit.

Let’s partner together to break through the Global Recognition Deficit. We have the power to make a positive impact on those around us by taking the time to share encouraging words with them. Who will you recognize today?

the power of Recognition David Novak

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