More on Motivation

This may seem a bit self-contradictory after we posted this quote from Napoleon Bonaparte last week,

"A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon."

But when it comes time to hand out rewards for peak performance, don’t be cheap!  "But wait a minute," I can hear you saying, "colored ribbon is certainly cheap."  That’s true, but as any veteran will tell you, a military ribbon gets its value from the tradition and respect that are attached to it, not from the value of the material itself.

Here’s a true story:  A friend attended a conference recently.  As part of the proceedings, certain attendees received a "reward".  In trying to be charitable, the best word I can think of to describe this thing would be "cheesy".  Maybe "demeaning" might be another description.  And that’s how many of the people took it.

It was meant to be motivational.  Obviously someone thought it was a good idea and since there are thousands of people in this organization, even this cheap trinket represented a large investment.  But instead of motivating anyone, all it did was insult them.  Why?  Because there was nothing behind it.  The nature of the "award" made it obvious that no one really took the time to think about how it would be received. 

A sincere "thank you" note from the president would have been much more effective and would have cost a fraction of what the cheap trinket cost.  With today’s merging software, the note could have even been personalized.

Your employees have a pretty good idea of the economics of your business.  They probably aren’t expecting a new car or a trip around the world.  Well-placed compliments on a job well done will motivate them as long as they’re sincere.  If you want to back that up with some kind of gift, it doesn’t have to be expensive.  But it does have to be appropriate.  It has to show that you really do care and that you put some thought into it.

All any of us really want is to know that we’re doing a good job, that we’re important, and that someone noticed.


One Response

  1. I totally agree with you that a gift must be appropriate and target at the right person. This is a way to show your sincerity and your heart to appreciate his/her efforts.

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