by Roy Saunderson | January 13, 2014
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What do you plan to do differently with giving recognition this year? Each new year bursts upon us with our same recognition skills as the year before and identical reward and recognition programs ready to be used. In order to make recognition take place the right way, we need to change ourselves and our outlook on recognition giving. Let’s make 2014 the year for new recognition resolutions with these Top 10 Recognition Resolutions.

1. Reflect and learn from the past. Examine past recognition giving and determine what repeatable characteristics you displayed. Are there common themes and reoccurring habits that stand out? Read, learn, and improve upon whatever you need to do with your recognition actions.

2. Make time for better recognition. Ensure that each recognition action you take is more purposeful and meaningful. Move away from transactional and programmed recognition giving. Think about why you’re recognizing a person and how to convey that purposeful message to them.

3. Build in more memorability. Determine to make each recognition experience you create an experience to remember. It’s not about what you give someone that makes it memorable. It’s the time, care, and effort you put into making the recognition experience special for them.

4. Think less about yourself. Make recognition giving more about the other person and not about yourself. Sometimes, we give and do recognition they way we’d like it. Create checklists and guides to learn about other people’s recognition preferences. The more you understand them, the more authentic the recognition is.

5. Orchestrate the emotional connections. In your recogntion plan, be sure to take into consideration how you would want the recipient to feel. While tangible awards or non-monetary gifts may be given it is important to remember that recognition is a felt experience. You must build in the messaging, the people, and the magic to conjure up the right emotions.

6. Put meaning into everything. Discover what is meaningful to the person being recognized and honor him or her for it. Learn to observe that person's environment, interests, and ask questions, and listen to ideas, needs and wishes. Incorporate what you learn from them and others into what you give and how.

7. Know their preferences. Respect award recipients with giving recognition however, wherever, and with whom they wish. Find out whether they want to celebrate publicly or privately, and respect that. Where is the best place to present recognition? Who would they want with them? Do whatever you can. 

8. Record for recollection. Do all you can to create ways to capture and help people remember their recognition experience. Recognition is all about memories, whether for the present or for the future. Collect or record programs, photos, videos, certificates, etc., that bring back the senses and memories.

9. Go the extra mile. Get their name right; get the right presenter recognition; and ensure that the recognition is given properly. You may never be perfect, but you must do all you can to come as close as you can. Delivery of the recognition has to be planned well, and executed with extreme care.

10. Make it a celebration. Do what needs to be done to celebrate a person’s achievements and help them feel valued. Don’t deliver recognition during a presentation – go beyond that. Always be thinking: 'What would it take to turn a recognition presentation into a celebration?' It’s the little things that elevate recognition value.

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