Accentuate the Positive –
The WOW! Awards started from a dark place. Amidst a climate of sensational and negative consumer journalism, The WOW! Awards was born as a way to focus on the people and organisations that give exceptionally good customer service.
This was a new concept. Very little had previously been done to highlight the good stuff and encourage people to be even better. Over the years that The WOW! Awards has been growing, we’ve learnt so much about leadership, recognition and basic psychology. It’s made me realise that most people are driven more by their fears than by their aspirations!
There are four fears of leadership that I believe may be holding people back:
A fear that customers only want to complain. The evidence from The WOW! Awards is that customers around the world love to say, “Thank you,” for a job well done.
A fear that only by managing the minute detail can we expect people to achieve the best result. Our experience of The WOW! Awards is that people love to excel. When given the responsibility, the resources, the space and the recognition they will generally exceed all expectations. Better employee engagement is often about creating and communicating a clear vision and then letting go.
A fear that we need to attach money to activity. We tend to believe that money is a motivator; that we need to reward people for better performance. The reality is that recognition is far more powerful than reward.
“Being respected is the single biggest motivator in all respondents, far more than money!” Austin Benn UK Sales Survey
A fear that softness is weakness. Most of us became managers and leaders by being technically good in a particular skill or trade. We might not have had the training or exposure that we really needed to become great leaders. It’s easy to think that we need to be tougher as managers and that any form of soft skills is a sign of weakness. But the world is changing. We can now see that emotional intelligence is a powerful tool. We have a better understanding of human psychology.
We can now see that a well delivered and sincere thank you is a powerful motivator.
“I can get my people to die for a ribbon but they won’t die for money!” Napoleon Bonaparte
If you are interested in the science of motivation, you might like to see this presentation from Dan Pink, author of Drive! “Our Motivations are Unbelievably Interesting!”
Written by Derek Williams, Creator of The WOW! Awards