I’ve been frighteningly forgetful lately. Bills have gone unpaid, birthdays have gone unremembered, promises have gone unkept. Ugh. I’m about to be chased out of the city by an angry mob! The problem is, for many years, I could rely on just my brain: it connected special dates with other significant events and assigned meaning to the passing of time. I could trust it. But, no more.
Then, it finally happened: this forgetfulness resulted in a minor catastrophe. Not wanting history to repeat itself, I set reminders in all of my devices, staged visual cues in my surroundings, and stocked up on a few items that could get me out of a pinch quickly. I went to these extraordinary lengths because my personal and professional relationships matter to me. They are worth both cultivating and preserving.
I’m guessing that even if your faculties have not betrayed you like mine have, you feel similarly about your relationships. And, that while it may not have become a problem, occasionally your life gets hectic and important matters slip right on by. Your close friends and family may forgive you (in time), but what about your employees? How will they feel if you repeatedly don’t acknowledge them? It’s definitely a different dynamic. So, how do you prevent these slights and keep day-to-day recognition front of mind?
Try my top picks to keep on hand and in sight (yes, I do use many of them myself!):
Peel & Stick Note Sets. I remember when we developed our first batch of these. They were an immediate hit, and it’s not hard to understand why. They’re about 13¢ per recognition transaction, they don’t require a long-winded message, and the booklet is compact so you can take it with you—and say thanks on the fly.
Cheers Kit & Caboodle®. Whether you get an individual Kit for your desk or a Caboodle to keep in a common area, what’s great about these tools is that they are meant to be a bit "in your face." If you can’t miss seeing them, you likely won’t forget what you’re supposed to do with them. The notes also come with a keepsake, so you can give a little extra with your words of encouragement.
Casual Day Sticker Set. I’ll tell you a secret: even though these are meant to be issued by Baudville managers and HR only, I happen to have a pack of them in my desk. I started using them when I was still lead of the Bod Squad and wanted to reward my colleagues for healthy attitudes and behaviors. But, oh, hey, I have some left over… So, I give them out now when someone contributes to the Blog or helps me out in another way. They’re easy to issue and they offer a tangible form of appreciation that the wearer can show off. I make friends easily this way, too.
Recognition Survival Kit. This is definitely our mackdaddy of disaster prevention. It was created specifically to address the spectrum of happenings that may require your attention on a moment’s notice. You can fill your kit with card/keepsake/reward sets that address the most common events in your workplace (or, most commonly overlooked). No emergency trip to the card store needed! I have a stash of these as well and they have pulled my fanny out of the fire more than once.
The keys to day-to-day recognition are that it should be frequent, timely, and sincere—not oops, sorry, and %$#@, not again! These tools will help you be prepared for any occasion (surprise or not), improve communication and connections with your team, and ensure that everyone thinks you’re totally on top of it—always!