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Using the Power of Cueing Recognition to Get Things Done

April 19, 2011

Recognition is power. Do you use it?  Do you get enough… of either?
Most of us report we don’t get enough recognition.  Watching it play out
in several interactions this week, got me thinking about recognition.  If it is
powerful, and in demand, why do most of us seem to get tripped up at
being good at dispensing it, much less  accumulating it?
Recognition Cues

So how does that work, and how does recognition relate to getting things done?
How is it that we not so skilled at using something that’s so powerful?  Why don’t
we don’t we give recognition to ourselves or others often enough?  If we all
increased the amount of recognition we provide in a genuine way to ourselves
and others, we would probably be elated with the results…  yet we miss the

We certainly aren’t in the dark about the value of recognition.  If you do a
quick search on the web, there are lots of links referring to the value and
power of recognizing others.  Here’s an example in real time, as you’ll see in
this appreciative blog written about the power of  recognition in response to
recognition from Citrix.

If you search on the phrase “the power of recognition” 6 out of the first 10
links are all about using recognition (as a power tool) to boost the
performance of  others.  Ah ha, that’s how it relates to getting things done.
The concept is widely known, widely written about.

OK, so we all know that providing recognition is a powerful tool in working
with others…  so why don’t we think to do it more often?  If it works so great
why do only a few actually include it as a regular part of their conversation,
their interaction style and habit with others?

In our management software, you can easily put in to-do reminders to prompt
you as a manager to recognize the work of team members, subordinates,
even your boss, but I see such entries in less than 5% of the organization’s
databases I have worked with… why?

While you’re thinking about that one, let me ask you a 2nd question, which
is the one I want to get at in this blog… “Why don’t you and I provide
more recognition for ourselves?”

We all need more recognition, we typically brighten up when we get it, so why
don’t we provide it for ourselves?  What are we… you, waiting on?

Oh… the last question gets in there, doesn’t it?
It’s about… it’s tied into the wait.

Most people aren’t adverse to giving recognition, they’re just waiting…

Waiting for what?
– for a big enough achievement, for something truly outstanding,
– for completion,
– for when they have time, e.g. their time isn’t consumed with solving problems,
– sometimes we’re not waiting for some threshold to be crossed, some rule
about providing recognition to be satisfied…
– sometimes we’re just waiting for it to  occur to us…
– then again some of us have been raised/learned to be just stingy about
handing out recognition, and have probably constructed a bunch of
internal defensive statements to prove why we should have to be more recognizing.

If you find yourself more in the waiting group then the dispensing group,
first of all think about relaxing the threshold rules before recognition can be
applied.  But most of all, think about using a cuing system to prompt yourself
to recognize… as waiting seems to the biggest obstacle to overcome in getting
better at putting this powerful tool into play for your self and others.

Here’s how recognition can help you and other get more done.
Recognition serves a double purpose.   It provides feedback that:
1. You’re doing something right, something of value, and
2. You’re doing the right things, headed the right direction, in
sync with what creates value.  E.g. recognition has a directional value to it.
Two for one – when you know that you’re doing something right,and that
you’re spending your time on the right activities greatly reduces time wasted
on unimportant tasks.

Bottom Line:

Recognition feels good.  It’s a very powerful that if used correctly can help
ensure that the right things get done. Most of us don’t give it to ourselves or
others often enough.  The biggest obstacle standing in our way seems to be a
cuing problem.  We’re all waiting until… we think to do it, or some other
threshold is passed.  Instead of waiting, do yourself and others a big favor
this week and “calendarize it.”  E.g instead of leaving it to memory, use something
like ManagePro and put in some to-dos to remind yourself to recognize yourself
and others… you’ll like the results.

Performance, Personal Branding and Follow-up

1 Comment. Leave new

Rodney, Thanks for the mention. Also, good insight. I never thought about the “cuing” issue. Recognition has the greatest impact when immediate, specific, and sincere. Thanks again.


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