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David Marquet

October 24, 2016 by Speakers' Spotlight

Are You Giving Immediate Recognition to Great Work?

Bestselling author of Turn The Ship Around, Captain David Marquet imagines a work place where everyone engages and contributes their full intellectual capacity, a place where people are healthier and happier because they have more control over their work–a place where everyone is a leader. Here, Captain Marquet looks at the importance of acknowledging good work:

If you have a “zero-defect mentality,” it means that when things are going well, you feel no need to do anything or change anything. But it may be the reason your top-performers are losing motivation, or worse, leaving.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Well—no,” management science researcher and consultants David Sturt and Todd Nordstrom write for Forbes. “The zero-defect mentality …is part of the reason why 51% of Americans are looking for new jobs. It’s behind the popular saying ‘People don’t leave jobs, they leave managers.’ It’s also why even top companies struggle to retain their best talent and are always trying to come up with new ways to attract and engage people who do great work. The zero-defect mentality can even be blamed for lagging productivity and disengagement. After all, employees of every age and industry self-report that the best way to motivate them is to sincerely show appreciation for work well done. And when top players who are smart, capable, and driven get left out of the positive-feedback loop, they lose steam.”

It’s easy to normalize your people’s good work, but to retain good work, you have to recognize it as such. Use immediate recognition to reinforce desired behaviors. That part is fairly easy, when you see or hear about something done well, acknowledge it. A “good job” and “great work” go a long way.

It’s also not a bad idea to take a look at your structure for employee evaluations or grading and how it corresponds with rewards. Are you connecting the two? Sometimes simply providing data to your people about their performance results in a natural desire to improve.

Other important to questions to ask: Are the rewards limited? Do they pit people against each other? Rewards should not have limits and should not encourage internal competition. Rewards should pit your people against external forces, like competitors.

Make sure you’re rewarding desired behavior and when possible do it right away.

Captain David Marquet/October, 2016