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How to Immediately Get More Productivity Out of Your Team


What if you could afford to walk around passing out $100 bills all day to your team?

Do you think that would help motivate them?

Do you think that could be effective in getting them to take action?

I think most of us would agree that it would be pretty powerful if when we asked someone to do something, we could just hand them over a Benjamin when it was all done.

Well that is how it is when you give out verbal praise to your team members.

Verbal appreciation is a form of currency.

And the payoff of praise can be huge.

Employee surveys regularly cite “feeling valued” “feeling important” and “feeling appreciated” as one of the highest determining factors of job satisfaction and job retention…even more so than money.

So when someone does something wonderful and you praise them, that is like the equivalent of handing them a $100 bill.

What’s so powerful about that of course is that verbal appreciation is an unlimited resource!

But there is no one reminding you that when you dish out genuine praise, it’s as if you’re handing out $100 bills. So as a leader you have to be the one reminding yourself that’s how it is.

There is no reason we shouldn’t be abundantly and regularly recognizing people for their efforts.

There is no cost to it- other than our own discipline to be considerate and intentional about recognizing the contributions people are making.

And that which is recognized is repeated.

When you appreciate people and notice the solid effort they put in, the more they are likely to stay loyal and bought in.

Verbal appreciation is a form of currency. Recognizing people is a part of their compensation package.

But when we don’t recognize our team members they will eventually feel under appreciated, then that will escalate to feeling taken for granted,  and eventually over time they can even feel taken advantage of.

And that is when they leave.

Or worse, that is when they stay and start to complain and pollute the culture.

At minimum though you can guarantee they won’t be doing their best work.

So remember verbal appreciation is a form of currency. And giving it out is a small price to pay for loyalty, retention and engagement.

In fact, it’s no price at all.

Does Recognition Really Matter?


In our selfie society, it has fortunately or unfortunately become a customary expectation for us as workers to be recognized for our work.

We are used to getting immediate feedback from people on what they think about us and the things we are doing.

Recognition, therefore, has become an integral part of business operations.

We have incentives, awards ceremonies, email chains, bonuses, prizes and all sorts of other ways that we draw attention to accomplishments that people in our organizations make.

But one of the most important lessons I had to learn as a leader is that recognition, by itself, isn’t what people are really after. 

I use to think that recognition is what people wanted, but I’ve come to learn that it usually isn’t.

People don’t want recognition; people want to feel valued.

People want to feel important.

People want to feel cared for.

People want to feel looked after.

And, it’s not having your name on a plaque, on a trophy, or read off in a long list of other people who did stuff that necessarily makes us feel valued.

What makes people feel valued is heartfelt gratitude.

What makes people feel valued is genuine appreciation.

What makes people feel valued is honest admiration.

People sometimes say we’re motivated by “recognition,” but what we usually mean is that we’re motivated by feeling important, respected and valuable.

We want to know that our efforts count, that they make a difference, and that someone else is taking notice of the work that we’re putting in.

So, emotionless certificates, mundane ceremonies, and trite words devoid of authentic meaning don’t really get the job done.

Which is ironic, because for organizations it takes a tremendous amount of coordination, logistics, manpower, and planning to pull off recognition efforts.

Those things can all be good and should be done, but the part that we need to never lose sight of though is that people don’t usually need all that crazy stuff – even though it can be nice.

What they must have though, that is critical to their survival, is to feel valued. They have to feel noticed.

Which is probably why Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, used to say something that I’m only now fully understanding: “You can give them a $5 present but always give them a $50 bow.”

I think what she was highlighting is that it’s not the award, but the celebration that matters.

And it’s not even the big public celebration that is the most important part, but doing the work that it takes to make people feel truly valued.

And you can make someone feel valued with a simple note or heartfelt thank you even if you can’t do a big prize or ceremony.

So, it’s fine to recognize.

It’s good to recognize.

But recognition is not what ultimately matters; it’s making people feel valued that matters.

Send a note right now to someone who you value and who you appreciate who you haven’t told in a meaningful way in a while. I think you’ll be amazed at how effectively it works.

Why People Leave and Employee Loyalty with Scott Love – Episode 164 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

employee loyalty

Scott Love is a credentialed expert on the topic of employee loyalty with over two decades of high-level headhunting experience. With empirical research based on tens of thousands of conversations with professionals, he gives managers the secrets to keeping high performers, and keeping them happy.  As a former Navy leadership trainer and Annapolis graduate, he gives managers ideas on how to increase employee retention, boost morale and performance, and attract high achievers. 

Scott is a published author with his newest book, Why They Follow: How to Lead with Positive Influence, a business writer, a professional keynote speaker, and has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Selling Power Magazine, and dozens of business trade journals and newspapers around the globe. 

As a leadership trainer when serving as a naval officer, he trained thousands of officers, senior enlisted and civil service workers on progressive leadership concepts.  Scott currently recruits partner-level attorneys for international law firms.  He is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and lives in Washington, DC. He is a watercolor artist, an amateur stand-up comedian, and is married with two children, one hamster, and one invisible dog.

Show Highlights

  • When people leave it is always for emotional reasons. @scottlove
  • Employees need recognition for what they do. @scottlove
  • The key is for managers to lead in a way that their employee connects meaning to work. @scottlove
  • The way to keep your employees is by connecting global corporate vision to each individual on the team. @scottlove
  • As a manager, my job is to help you do as well as you can here and give you tools so that if and when you leave it is going to improve your career. @scottlove
  • Sometimes the best thing you can do is give people space. @scottlove
  • As long as you have the right people in place they will accomplish the mission. @scottlove
  • People don’t leave companies, people leave people. @rory_vaden
  • There is not a shortage of good candidates, they’re just busy working. @scottlove
  • A lot of times we put too much emphasis on just pay. @rory_vaden
  • Meaning comes from the service we provide to people around us. @rory_vaden
  • Vision is not academic that checks boxes it is emotional statement that creates pictures in the minds of people. @rory_vaden
  • What is a company other than a collection of people? @rory_vaden
  •  If you have the ability to move people emotionally you have the ability to be a great leader. @rory_vaden
  • Great leadership is about moving people emotionally. @rory_vaden

To connect with Scott, get your copy of Why They Follow: How to Lead with Positive Influence and more on employee loyalty visit:

The Action Catalyst is a weekly podcast hosted by Rory Vaden of Southwestern Consulting every Wednesday. The show is regularly in the Top 25 of Business News Podcasts, has listeners from all around the world and shares “insights and inspiration to help you take action.” Each week Rory shares ideas on how to increase your self-discipline and make better use of your time to help you achieve your goals in life. He also interviews special expert guests and thought leaders. Subscribe on iTunes and please leave a rating and review!

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Recognizing Your Sales Team

How to recognize your sales team the right way

It’s a funny thing that recognizing your sales team the wrong way can actually have a negative effect.

It’s a frustrating experience for a leader when you’re trying to go out of your way to lift people up and the reverse ends up happening.

Here’s a few helpful tips to remember to keep you from making some very common mistakes…

Recognize activity not just productivity – We of course want people to know how their production is compared to their goals but if you only recognize production (i.e. Sales or new customers) you will often find you pretty regularly are only recognizing the same people.

So don’t forget to also recognize activity or work stats (i.e. Hrs worked, dials made, appts set, referrals gathered). Because what gets recognized gets repeated and so you want to place a focus on the people who are working hard so that other people follow suit. These are people who are controlling the controllables and that is something repeatable that everyone can immediately aspire to.

Recognize the past not just the present – Very often recognition only includes the most recent week or month. But if you expand to include year to date, this quarter, or “best weeks” you’ll find a lot more opportunities to provide meaningful recognition to more people.

It’s especially important to recognize best days, best weeks or best months for individuals. Doing so creates an environment where people are competing against themselves to do their best, instead of only competing with others.

Recognition is about the presentation not just the prize – Leaders often think that you must have a huge expensive prize to make people feel valued or that it’s the prize that carries all the weight and it’s really not. Prizes are great, but as Mary Kay Ash used to say “you can give a $5 prize just make sure it has a $50 bow.” In other words, make the celebration big even if the prize is small.

You can make a big deal out of recognition by wrapping it nicely, doing a formal presentation, giving the person a chance to speak, or just in general focusing more and putting thought into “how” it’s presented rather than “what” is presented. Remember the goal is not to relay information; the goal is to make people feel special.

Recognize with emotion and not just logic – Too often leaders roll through recognition in a very matter of fact and boring manner almost as if if is their obligation to drag everyone through this part of the meeting. Instead, be enthusiastic, express genuine appreciation, and share with everyone how it makes you feel to see each specific person succeed. Verbal affirmation is a form of currency and it’s an unlimited resource so be generous with your praise.

In general, recognition should be less like reporting the news and more like throwing a birthday party. If it’s the former, it probably isn’t motivating anyone.

Recognize personally not just professionally – Recognition doesn’t just have to be restricted to what people do at the office- in fact it’s better if it’s not. Celebrate and announce people getting married, having kids/grandkids, running marathons, having their family members win awards, getting debt free, etc.

And make recognition fun by sharing an interesting fact about the person winning that not everyone knows. Or another fun thing to do is interview the persons leader, colleague or family member to get their positive comments on the person and include them when you announce it to the team.

Make sure to recognize the team not just individuals – At the end of the day you want to enforce the greater good of the team more than the performance of any individual. It’s important to celebrate individuals who exceed above and beyond but it can’t only be about them.

You have to constantly remind everyone that we’re working together as a team. It’s also important for everyone’s ego to acknowledge that no achievement ever happens in a vacuum. When one person does something amazing it’s always at least partially empowered (and usually largely empowered) by the team around them. So celebrate together, lift each other up and always focus on how the whole team is doing and not just the individual parts.