Are you making a difference? Is anyone noticing?

Soft SkillsManagers and shaving products have a lot in common.

Specifically, safety razors. Trust me on this one. Here’s why.

I read a piece recently by Steve Shapiro about how to get customers to appreciate a great product, and he used the very successful Gillette Fusion razor as an example.

Shapiro says rightfully that if you can create a gap between today’s product and the past/competitor options, you can create fans for your products.

Not just buyers. Fans!

The same rings true for managers.

Do your people appreciate you for all the improvements you’ve made in their work lives?

Do they recognize how much better you are as a manager today compared to:

  • The way you used to manage them?
  • Other managers your employees interact with?
  • Work life before they ever met you?

In other words, are you making a difference? Is anyone noticing?

You're Fired!
It’s about recognition

Which brings us to the second part of this blog post, recognition.

Here’s a quick story about “The Dorothy Test.” You’ll love it.

The Dorothy Test is the real-life tale of a nursing school instructor.

At the end of each term, this instructor gives students a very demanding exam on pharmacology and anatomy that always ends with this question: “What is the name of the person who cleans the nursing center?”

Naturally students think this is a mistake.

But the instructor tells them, “No, it’s no mistake. In your careers, you will meet many people. Everyone of them is important. They deserve your recognition and appreciation, even if all you do is smile, nod your head and say ‘hello’.”

The first time the question appeared on a test paper, the answer was “Dorothy” and ever since, the question has been known as the Dorothy Test.

It’s all about recognition

Which brings us to the third part of this blog post, recognition.

How does a good manager effectively recognize good people?

Any effective approach to employee recognition should include these five points:

  1. In the moment – as much as possible, be timely.
  2. In context – recognition is most effective when it’s given in the context of a larger goal or business-results-focused activity.
  3. Appropriate in scale – recognition should match effort and results, or it loses meaning.
  4. Authentic, not automatic – you have to mean it when you give employees recognition.
  5. Tied to the employee’s perception of value – people know when they’re valued, and they should have a good idea of their value to the organization.

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  1. The Dorothy Test is an excellent way to bring home a strong message about a positive work culture.
    After years of working in the schools you learn one of the most important co-worker is the building engineer or janitor.
    Appreciated this story! Thanks for reinforcing how important everyone is no matter what their job title is.

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