The eighth and final key to execution is recognition. Acknowledging great performance, great project management, great accountability, and great follow-through is critical to creating cultures of execution.
Think of recognition as a deposit in the bank account of future strategic initiatives. It is a public opportunity to say, “This is what we are looking for. This is what we value. This is the kind of thing we want everyone to model.”
We have to make celebration a priority. I recently bought an old cowbell for our CEO to ring publicly when we land a major account. Several companies I have worked for have thanked their employees in different ways for attracting quality staff to come on board. We celebrate anniversaries and birthdays. Why don’t we do that at work?
Is it because it costs to much? Hogwash. Take off an hour early on a Friday, head to a park and do a barbecue. Everyone brings a dish. Is it because it takes too much time? Bologna. Set up a celebration committee of three staff members and have them plan the quarterly party. They’ll stay late to have the opportunity to put something together.
Or perhaps you don’t think it really matters. Several years ago I was assembling a presentation on “developing a talent strategy” for nonprofit organizations. I discovered that there are several elements to talent: acquiring, developing, deploying, and retaining talent. Which of these four categories do you think is impacted by celebration? It wouldn’t be hard to make a case that two, or even three, of these areas is affected by celebration, and yet a McKinsey study several years ago found that:
- 73% of executives strongly agree they need to find and retain top talent, but only 9% felt their actions would lead to that outcome
- 84% didn’t even know who their top performers are
- Only 23% felt they could attract top talent, and only 10% felt they could retain top talent
Recognition may provide some motivation for executing a strategic initiative, but far more valuable is what it does for the culture, for future projects, and for individuals who have worked long and hard to see a project through to completion. It’s time to make their success a visible, celebrated part of the culture.
Do you celebrate success? Do you do it in a way that contributes to the growth of your culture? What is stopping you from celebrating success? What is worth recognizing in your environment? Where might you find inexpensive ideas for celebrating on a tight budget?
So that’s our final Key to Execution! Want to read more by Curt and the Pursuant team? Check out our other whitepapers here-let us show you how data and expertise drives strategy that excels.
Many nonprofit organizations struggle with telling their stories — specifically, providing a clear case for support. They live with frustration because there are so many “have to’s” and “we’ve always done it this way’s” built into running their daily business. Instead of questioning methods that don’t work, they simply accept their frustrations. In the nonprofit world we cannot continue to simply do things because they have always been done that way. Lives and livelihoods are directly impacted by how we choose to do our jobs day in and day out. Try something new, fix, or eliminate anything that keeps you from telling your story and creating new ways to engage.
Need inspiration? Read this article by Evernote’s Phil Libin on how he created an atypical corporate culture based on what works.