“I’m a big believer in the Bullet Points concept of Recognition of Uncommon Acts (chapter 6) that when you recognize your staff with awards, with a simple thank you - when you let them know that what they are doing counts – you can motivate them to do great things. Each year at the Super Bowl we do a kick-off “Welcome Dinner” where workers get their marching orders for the week, along with a fabulous 5-course meal and special NFL clothing items. We also always have a “Wheels Up” Party the night after the game where we recognize every manager with a special gift, and present super special gifts to those who go “beyond the call of duty”. Without spending much money, these recognition ceremonies allow us to motivate our event team to do excellence work, in a very tough, high visibility and stressful environment.
For the past fifteen years our company, Ridgeway International, Inc. has had the privilege to coordinate the transportation, parking and logistics for the National Football League, handling various aspects of the Super Bowl, Pro Bowl and playoffs. Every year at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii we have a thank you dinner the night after the game, where we give out our equivalent of the “Hawaiian Oscar”, which is basically just a Hula Dancer who runs on batteries. I buy it at the local K-Mart store near the Aloha Stadium and it is about as cheesy as a gift can be. But the crazy thing is nobody cares - she has become the award people want to win, as she is given to that one person each year that goes beyond the ordinary in their job. It’s amazing to me - this thing costs me less than $10 and I have seen people cry when receiving it.
Early in my career, I used to work for former Vice President and U.S. Senator Hubert H. Humphrey, who motivated us with his unbridled enthusiasm – with the feeling that he honestly cared for your well being. One of his favorite lines was “People really don’t care about what you know, but they DO want to know you care”. And because Humphrey gave us that feeling, we worked tirelessly and for long, long days with little pay because we loved him and respected him as a friend and leader.
So, tell your team you care. Tell them they are key to your success, and that you need each and every one of them. Let them know by words and deeds that you are genuine in this belief. If you can do that, they will follow you to the ends of the earth. And in the inevitable crises of life, they will be there by your side, stepping forward to make you and your efforts a success.
Command them, yes. But more importantly, commend them. Do that sincerely and they will follow you with desire, instead of obligation.”