Creating a Constellation of Stars: The Power of Recognition in Organizations

Recognition is a contagious activity, and it should be nurtured not only by leaders but also among employees themselves. Recognition boosts our self-esteem, motivation, and the quality of our work.

While seeking our own gold stars can create a heavy atmosphere in an organization, it’s essential to acknowledge that recognition often extends beyond the internal workings of a company. Many organizations, like McDonald’s with its ‘Employee of the Month’ program, proudly display recognition for all to see, including customers. This high visibility not only elevates the morale of the recognized employees but also serves as a source of inspiration for others. However, it’s crucial to recognize that this visibility can have complex effects. Those who come close to receiving such awards, like the second or third positions, may feel a sense of missed opportunity or disappointment. To address this, organizations should consider implementing a system that recognizes not only the top performers but also those who exhibit exceptional dedication and effort in reaching a hard goal — right? Even a small token of recognition for these individuals can have a significant positive impact on their morale and motivation, fostering a culture where everyone feels valued and appreciated.

In the fast-paced world of work, it’s common for individuals to overlook their own accomplishments, as they often push themselves relentlessly towards big, long-term goals, sometimes forgetting to celebrate small victories along the way. This oversight can gradually erode their morale and leave individuals feeling undervalued. Acknowledging and celebrating small wins is essential for maintaining motivation and a positive workplace environment. It reminds us of the progress we’re making and the value we bring to our organizations. Leaders play a pivotal role in nurturing this practice.

I particularly like the analogy of day and night. During the day, we have our main star – I don’t think I need to clarify, but I’m talking about the SUN – which overshadows all the other stars in our galaxy, even though they are in the same place as always. It’s only at night, when the sun sets, that we start to see all these stars. And let’s agree, there’s nothing more beautiful than a sky full of stars.

The same goes for the companies we work for. A company full of stars goes much farther than a company where only the BIG STARS are remembered. What will happen if the BIG STARS leave? Will they take the customers with them to another place, or worse, will the company lose credibility because its “big shining star” has departed?

I strongly believe in recognition as a tool for motivation, boosting self-esteem, and improving the workplace environment. However, it should always be genuine recognition, tied to goals and results. Recognizing just for the sake of it can have a reverse effect.

Transform your organization into a constellation of stars, and it will be remembered much more than a single star.

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