Recognition: An overrated concept or a winning practice?
As some of you may already know, one of the eight steps for leading change according to John P. Kotter is to celebrate wins. In my experience, the deeper the transformation and the more it impacts aspects such as organizational culture, the more time it requires to reap the expected benefits. Recognition then becomes a lever that can make a real difference.
Recognition means that you’re on the path to success. And success leads to success. When managers take the time to celebrate wins, this sends the message that decisions and actions actually benefit the organization, even if these cause upheavals. As a result, these wins reinforce and lend credibility to the change and reduce the resistance of those most opposed to it. Even if the need for recognition may differ from one person to the next, this practice keeps the focus on the transformation, helps build momentum and boosts team motivation—key conditions for successful changes.
Too often, I notice that in spite of the numerous advantages of recognizing efforts for employees, the organization, and clients, this practice is not a reflex and, when it is, it’s often given too late.
But it’s especially during times of upheaval and during their steepest learning curve that people need to be reassured about their efforts to transform themselves and develop new work habits and ways of doing things.
With his team, Jean-Pierre Brun, Director of the Chaire en Gestion de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CGSST) of Laval University, developed a model that perfectly illustrates this practice.
Fostering a culture of recognition within a management style is not only a winning practice and a critical lever in times of major change; it also contributes to improving the quality of the organizational climate and relationships, and has a positive impact on employees’ productivity and their desire to excel. It significantly influences the quality of customer service, as well as the motivation and retention of employees. Moreover, when the organization transforms its own culture, recognition becomes essential for the reinforcement of the desired new behaviours.
And you, do you have a recognition practice?
If not, would your organization and clients benefit from your implementing a recognition practice within your organization? If you were to add this ingredient to your change stragegy, would that improve your chances of succeeding your transformation?