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by Roy Saunderson | September 08, 2015
In September, it's not just back-to-school time for our kindergarten through college-aged children. The adults out there seem to have a get back-to-work attitude, too. With that in mind we have created your handy checklist of recognition supplies you need to ramp up your recognition giving this fall as you head back to work.

1. Agenda or planner. Whether you're online or offline, you need to start planning and keeping track of your personal recognition actions or when you will use the company programs for sending nominations, e-cards, points, and other well deserved commendation.

2. Calculators and rulers. The last quarter of the year means it's time to re-focus with measuring the amount of recognition activities each manager and employee is giving. What kind of metrics do you currently have in place to know the effectiveness of your recognition initiatives?

3. Highlighters. Valuing people and their contributions can make a world of difference to them. The key is getting everyone on board to "highlight" the great things going on. Too often amazing things go unnoticed and unsung heroes have no voice. Become a highlighter of the good things being done at work.

4. Binders and folders. School kids need a binder or folder for each subject they take. You need a document folder on each employee with their likes and dislikes, their interests and family situations. All can be priceless information for giving more meaningful recognition to them.

5. Notebooks and paper. Make sure you have a supply of note cards and thank-you cards to get out of the online mode of communicating. People treasure a handwritten note of appreciation and if you are viewed positively your note will become a keeper and reread often.

6. Dictionary and thesaurus. While not all recognition is about words, sometimes we get tongue-tied or get writers block with expressing appreciation to people. Having these classic word source tools at your fingertips or online will help tremendously.

7. Pens and colored pencils. Naturally, when you are relying on the written word to say some nice things to people you have to have the writing tools to do so. Try writing in different colored pens or pencils for add a little pizzazz and variety.

8. Combination lock. There are no real secrets to unlocking the success required for acknowledging people the right way. It is a combination of keen observation skills, self-discipline to initiate rewarding actions, and positive interpersonal skills to communicate appreciation.

9. Lunch bag. Create opportunities for lunch-and-learn sessions to master giving positive feedback and recognition. Most of us like to celebrate accomplishments and sometimes some tasty treats and goodies are a simple way to stop and take time out to say "thanks".

10. Backpack. You may have someone who is in charge of recognition where you work. But each of us must carry the load and responsibility for giving meaningful and effective recognition to those we work with. Lighten the burden for everyone by being a great "student" of recognition. 

Incentive columnist Roy Saunderson is author ofGiving the RealRecognition Way and is the Chief Learning Officer of Rideau's 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.