It took years to realize it. But after reading Whale Done by Ken Blanchard, it became crystal clear.
The book details how they train the whales at Sea World. The difference between these trainers and most managers is one thing. Instead of constantly punishing the whales when they do something wrong, they only celebrate and reward them when they do something right.
It’s become a recognition culture and it’s paid off tremendously for Sea World.
In our office, we instilled this same method to coaching our employees, constant recognition. Now this sounds like this could be similar to the “every kid gets a medal philosophy” but it’s far from it.
We do not recognize everybody. We recognize whenever we see something done well.
If someone uses great language with a customer on the phone, we let them know about it. When an employee picks up trash around the office even when it’s not their job, we recognize it. When someone recognizes another employee, we recognize them.
The key is recognition in front of their peers. Every Friday, our team sends emails recognizing another team member for something they did that was Fans First. Every Monday we begin our Staffchat sharing this recognition.
During the season, after every game we discuss Fans First moments. What did our team do during the game to give our fans the most amazing experience?
By repeating our purpose of Fans First in everything we do, we make sure to celebrate every Fans First moment created by our team.
This creates a special culture. A culture based on recognition.
It starts by just looking for the good in people. When they do something great let them and their peers know about it.
I’ll never forget when I asked our Director of Operations what was his best moment was from this past year and he said, when you came up to me after the concert and said, “You absolutely killed it tonight, I’m proud of you.”
It was just simple recognition, but it goes a long way.
Sounds easy, but it’s one of the greatest challenges we have. Bad things happen. Things go wrong. We are dealt with challenges every single day, especially when hosting 4,000 people at our ballpark each night. But instead of focusing on the problems, we focus on how they are solved. And then we provide our best recognition.
This will separate your company from all others. And people will want to work with you and stay with you.
That’s the difference maker. Share the gratitude and look for great things in people every day. The best leaders recognize, recognize and recognize some more.
Who can you recognize today?