by Roy Saunderson, MA, CRP | February 13, 2017
Never forget that your organizational culture is the most powerful driving force behind all of your recognition practices and programs. Your strategy gives direction, purpose and goals to make recognition happen. Still, some organizations struggle to get their culture in synch with their strategy. Use these Top 10 Ways to Get Culture Driving Recognition and lift your recognition programs to new heights.

1. Rooted. Your culture is rooted in your past, so honor it. Find out the origins of the shared values, and beliefs, that tell everyone why you do things the way you do at work. Share those stories with everyone through every available medium.

2. Communicated. Wonderful cultures are communicated everywhere. Creatively share your culture at onboarding and on your website. Capture stories of exemplary employees living your culture and then recognize them for it.

3. Expected. Culture starts from the top and filters its way down. When a C-suite leader writes regular thank you cards or makes personal visits to acknowledge employees, the example spreads. Make recognition an expectation not an option.

4. Lived. Practice the behaviors that demonstrate your culture and each of your values. Make whatever cultural rituals and routines that work best for your company come alive with emotion. Praise your people for doing things right.

5. Led. Leaders are both formal and informal, and they are the ones who make culture happen. Become a leader with bold demonstration of living your values and doing the right things right. Invite others to follow your example at work.

6. Focused. To make your cultural ways of doing things a way of life, you will need to prioritize the very best actions to do first. Successful organizations tend to focus on a critical few behaviors and commit everyone to doing them right.

7. Perpetuated. Keeping an organization's culture going is hard work. You must prevent your values, vision and beliefs from going the way of the dodo. Share cultural memories with people and make procedures and behaviors more real.

8. Enlivened. Some cultural practices, as well as recognition programs, have outlived their usefulness and original spirit. Give new life to your values by getting employees to tell you how to improve how they are lived. Breathe out new ideas.

9. Reinforced. You must keep everyone accountable for living the organizational cultural practices. This means consequences for people who act against the culture, or don't fit as well, and positively reinforcing those actively aligned.

10. Recognized. Too often, culture is a one-time branding or strategic exercise, that once done, the business forgets about. Consistently recognize and appreciate the people in your company who remain true to your culture each and every day.

Incentive columnist Roy Saunderson, MA, CRP, is author of Giving the Real Recognition Way and is the Chief Learning Officer of Rideau Recognition Solutions' Recognition Management Institute, a consulting and training company which helps leaders and managers get recognition right. He can be reached at RoySaunderson@Rideau.com. Also, check out the library of Real Recognition Radio shows.