Watch the video above to hear more from Bob Chapman on recognition.
There’s something that I have learned that is the foundation of truly human leaders – that we regularly need to shine a light in our organizations and look for the goodness.
Over the years, that practice has taken form in many different ways of recognizing people throughout Barry-Wehmiller. I’ve written about some of them on this blog, such as our Guiding Principles of Leadership (GPL) Award.
Our High Five Award was an idea that came to me after watching a football game. Wouldn’t it be great if, instead of celebrating the person who caught the winning touchdown, he ran back to the line of scrimmage to the blocker lying on the ground – who created the opening for the play – and said “Thanks, you did that for me and I really appreciate it.”
To me, that is the ultimate goal. To not just celebrate the person who caught the ball, but the team members that played their position well to allow the receiver to be in the open for the game winning catch.
These recognition practices were key in developing our leadership philosophy to show everyone within our span of care that they matter. And because recognition is so important to our culture, we owe it to our people to step back and reflect – to think about what we are doing well and what we can do better.
The COVID-19 pandemic put many of our large-scale, in-person celebrations on hold. That pause created a natural opportunity to gather a group of people from across the organization to reimagine how we approach recognition.
This gathering is taking place this week at our BW Papersystems facility in Phillips, Wisconsin.
I have had the pleasure and privilege of being in the midst of these valued team members from all over the world as they begin to consider many important questions.
As I told them at the beginning of the conference, the central question for me is: How do you create a consistent practice of recognizing the goodness in our people and say “thank you” in timely and appropriate ways?
Everybody wants to know that who they are and what they do matters. How do we show them and not just make it routine, but make it special?
This is not something that is taught in universities. It’s not taught by consultants. It’s not necessarily natural. I believe, however, that it’s our responsibility to let people know they matter in meaningful, thoughtful, unique ways.
It’s easy to drift away from caring to mechanizing a process. “Just get them a gift card,” with no thought or personalization to what would make the person feel special.
The goal for us is to reflect and learn from practices that have worked in the past and advance our skills to ensure that this becomes a natural aspect of leadership. And to also institutionalize the good and meaningful parts of our recognition programs through systems that support and encourage meaningful recognition.
This is all about goodness and the impact we have on others. I have faith in our people that we are going to do something great this week.
I don’t know if any other companies in the world are investing the time and talent to recognize the goodness throughout their global organization, but I want our Barry-Wehmiller team to be proud that we are advancing the practice of truly human leadership.
We’ll share more about the week’s discussion on this blog very soon.