Have You Recognized Your Team Lately?

When was the last time your recognized individuals on your team?  For many of you that answer might be Christmas.  And some of you are still sore from the expense of the party or gift that you provided to your team.

However, recognition does not have to cost you or your company a dime.  And actually can be accomplished in a mere 10-15 minutes a week.  (WAIT.  Did she say FREE and 10-15 minutes a week?) Yes, yes I did.  I am going to give you one of the biggest keys to my success in building teams.  (Oh – WAIT.  Now you are going to want me to buy something from you.) NOPE.  I am going to offer this great wisdom for FREE.

Thank You Notes.  (You mean those things I had to write after I got married?)  Yes those.  For those of you raised by mamas who believe Emily Post is the be all end all, you probably grew up writing these for everything.  For those of you who didn’t … I promise it isn’t that hard.  It does not need to be long.  Here is one I wrote today.

Dear X,

Thank you so much for taking on the project of reviewing the patients who have been in recently and making sure they have the (x) setup on their demographic page.  This ensures we have an accurate account of our patients for all of the shared reports we run with (x).  Great catch on the two different places to document this!

Thank you,


Please note,  it is only 3 sentences.  I start with the what they have done.  Then why it is important in the big picture (validating the usefulness of what in this case is a mundane task) . Finally, a pat on the back.

Each week I send out 2-3 of these.  I spend no more than 5 minutes.  But I don’t just send them to my direct or indirect reports.  I send at least 1 to someone who assists us in what we do.  The ones to my own employees, I prefer to write on stationary and mail to their home (Okay – I do spend the cost of a stamp and stationary.  However, e-mail works, too).  This allows them to share their worth with their loved ones.  I have had single moms, who put it on the fridge with their kids work from school – showing their children they have value.  The ones to someone who does not have a reporting relationship to me, I e-mail and cc their supervisor.  I want them to have it come performance review time. I had a maintenance gentleman, who had played football in college – so he was a real man’s man, almost cry when he told me how much it meant to him that we noticed what he does.  He told me that no one ever told him thank you.  How sad is that?  But the indirect benefit from this, any time my department called maintenance for a repair – guess who got bumped to the front of the line?  I don’t do them for this reason, but think of it as an added perk.

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