You’ve narrowed your problem, you know your target audience, and you’ve removed barriers for action. You’ve even found your team of keeners who are helping you to make the world a better place. Congratulations! You are a public marketing super-star. It’s awfully tempting to shift the spotlight onto the next challenge now, isn’t it?
But let’s just pause for a moment – when was the last time you recognized your keeners? You know who they are. These are the people who were the first to raise their hands when you called for volunteers, and they are as committed to solving the problem as you are. And yes, we all know that the highest form of commitment is giving without expectation of reward (if you’re a parent, you are most certainly living this reality), but even you, fearless change agent, appreciate a pat on the back now and then. Even you like timely feedback that you’re on the right path and that your actions are making a difference.
This Thanksgiving, take time to give thanks to the people in your life who are helping to solve problems you care about – especially when tangible results are difficult to see in the short term. These people are helping to create new, positive norms in society. They are the outliers, and by focusing your attention on them, you not only reinforce their ongoing support, you also get better insights into what it will take to shift the average “up” to their level. If you understand what makes them tick, you can shape your messages to more effectively motivate engagement.
If you think it’s impossible to prioritize recognition activities in your busy schedule, imagine how much more time it would take to build your roster of keeners all over again, not to mention the loss of credibility your program will suffer. Keeping your team in the loop on how you’re doing towards achieving the big picture goals demonstrates respect for their time investment in the process, it fosters deeper engagement, and it builds organizational accountability. So why does it fall off the radar? Keep it simple and start with a single act of gratitude.
Recognition doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive, but it does need to be genuine. Begin by reflecting on how much progress has been made in solving the problem, and then consider who has helped to remove the barriers. Skip the disposable trinkets and focus your efforts on sharing the impact of the collective efforts. You will be amazed by what a little focused appreciation can do for your team.
And don’t skimp on the chocolate, whatever you do. Even outliers love chocolate.