Monday, December 22, 2008

Does Recognition Help Employee Engagement

As I’ve mentioned, a couple of weeks ago I was in Paris for the launch of Christophe Laval’s new book “Plaidoyer pour la reconnaissance au travail,” which literally translates to, “A Plea For Recognition in the Workplace.”

During the launch, Christophe and I fielded questions from the audience of senior level HR professionals.

One of the questions was, “Does recognition help employee engagement?”

Both Christophe and I gave a resounding YES!

I've said this before, engagement is a two way street. Don’t expect to have employee engagement if you don’t have employer engagement!

I’d go even further by saying that engagement must first come from the company… after all it's the company that literally and figuratively “engages” new employees. We all know that though employees join a company, they quit their manager. In my opinion, all too often managers do not live up to the company’s promise of engagement.

Every time a manager gives recognition, they are actually engaging their employees. Recognition is probably the single most powerful employer engagement tool in existence, yet all too often it lies unused in a manager’s toolkit.

Make sure your managers use recognition to engage their employees because remember, they’re your employees too!

Monday, December 15, 2008

GIVING ~ The Real Recognition Way

Looking for a great recognition read over the holidays?

My friend and colleague Roy Saunderson has the book for you! It’s called GIVING ~ The Real Recognition Way.

Recognition is a feeling and Roy explains how to develop practical skills and insights on giving employees the recognition they really want. His book is full of proven techniques, tips and ideas that will help you learn how to give recognition the right way… so it’s felt and received the way it was intended!

GIVING the Real Recognition Way is available in English and French for purchase.

Knowing Roy, he’ll probably write a personal inscription!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Plea for Recognition in the Workplace

A couple of weeks ago my wife Francine and I visited our favorite city in the world… Paris, the city of lights! We had a great trip walking several hours every day exploring museums and other off the beat haunts.

I also got the opportunity of meeting my good Parisian friend, Christophe Laval. He is a fellow Recognition Professionals International CRP grad. (The only difference being he took the courses in English, his second language, for which RPI should give him bonus points!)

For the last several years Christophe has been the president and CEO of Entreprise & Personnel (the French equivalent of SHRM) and prior to that he was the VP HR for the Compass Group in Europe with about 100,000 employees.

Employee recognition has become a passion of Christophe’s and he believes it is not being used to its full potential in France and other European countries. For that reason, Christophe intends on leaving Entreprise & Personnel at year end and becoming a full time employee recognition consultant. The name of his new company is VPHR (Vision Performance Human Capital Recognition) and you can visit him at his Recognition at Work website.

Christophe just wrote a book in French on employee recognition called “Plaidoyer pour la reconnaissance au travail,” literally translated… “A Plea For Recognition in the Workplace.” You can purchase the book at It is a very good read and I strongly recommend it.

Christophe launched his book in Paris at the Georges V Hotel on November 7th and the launch was attended by about 75 senior level HR professionals. Afterwards, I participated on a panel with Christophe and we answered questions about Recognition Professionals International, the use of recognition and its international differences.

I believe that Christophe Laval will be a great asset to the international recognition community.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Smell the Roses!

December is always a stressful time for employees and managers alike and this year, it’s even more so because of uncertainty over the economy.

So last night as I was driving home, I listened with great interest to a radio interview with Dr. Michael Spevack. He is an assistant professor at McGill who works in the Cognitive Behavior Therapy Clinic which provides treatment for anxiety disorders, depression and stress related disorders. Dr. Spevack’s research has found there’re four simple ways you can reduce stress in your life.

According to the good doctor you can immediately reduce stress by consciously doing the following:

1. Walking slower
2. Eating slower
3. Driving slower
4. Talking slower

Makes sense to me! This is something managers can practice daily which will surely filter down to employees. Just like when managers begin practicing recognition, the mood in the office often shifts. Thank you’s can become happily contagious! And if managers begin to show a calmer side, I bet this’ll lead to happier and more engaged employees!

Unfortunately, I increased my wife Francine’s stress levels because I arrived home later than usual as I’d immediately slowed down my driving. And then she was none too pleased as I lingered over my dinner. I was trying to eat slower… but she thought I didn’t like her cooking.

All was put right when I explained Dr. Spevack’s recommendations.

Francine agreed that they made a lot of sense to her as well except for the fourth one. She said I talk too much and if I slowed down I’d be going on all the time and life would be unbearable for her and many others!

Seriously, Dr. Spevack got it right… we should all slow down and smell the roses!

Monday, December 1, 2008

More Help From Your Friends!

For many years I subscribed to an eZine called “The Real Recognition EZine.” It was written by a fellow called Roy Saunderson who was the founder and president of a company called the Recognition Management Institute.

From time to time, I would drop Roy a line commenting on an article or a thought he provoked on recognition.

Three years ago this month, Rideau decided to reach out to Roy and to this end, I asked my colleague Gord Green to call him. The next morning, I got a call from Roy asking if we could meet. I thought Roy was responding to Gord’s call, but to make a long story short he’d decided to reach out to us! Talk about Serendipity!

Roy did come to Montreal in the middle of a huge snow storm (the downside of living in here) and we hit it off immediately. So much so that we bought Roy’s company.

Today Roy helps companies around the world create better employee recognition strategies. He educates business leaders on why recognition is such an important management tool and trains managers how to use recognition effectively each and every day. Visit the Recognition Management Institute to learn more about Roy and his work.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Understanding the New Generation Worker

Want to learn how to win the talent crisis? Join my friend and colleague Gord Green on December 9th at Recognition Professionals International’s website for a webinar on “Understanding the New Generation Worker”!

Register for Gord’s webinar here!

Gord’s webinar will show you how to use recognition to win the War of Talent by better understanding the New Generation Worker.

I know the economy is a mess and unemployment is rising but this won’t last. By 2011, there’ll be a shortfall of 3 million workers between the projected workforce and the number of jobs required to keep the economy moving by 2016. Attracting and retaining talent is a no brainer anytime… especially millennials! Gord will teach attendees how to:
1. Use recognition to influence the relational value of your corporate culture
2. Use recognition for retention, recruitment and engagement
3. Motivate your new employees to align their behaviors to your corporate values!

Gord’s one of the foremost Thought Leaders and Program Strategists in the Recognition & Reward marketplace. He’s been instrumental in helping global corporations develop and maintain highly effective employee engagement solutions. He writes, lectures and is frequently quoted on recognition and reward strategies, behavioral alignment to brand strategy, maximizing employee engagement and tactical reward program implementation.

I hope you enjoy his webinar!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

More Help From Your Friends

The Forum for People Performance Management and Measurement is another great place to visit and find research and educational studies.

The Forum was founded at the Department of Integrated Marketing Communications in the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Chicago.

Their research studies the various aspects of people performance management and measures their impact on organizational success. They are creating a curriculum based on research findings both for academic and professional use. Pick up some of their great white papers!

I’m proud of the fact that Rideau has helped fund the Forum’s research... since 2004 Rideau has been Recognition Professionals International’s forum sponsor.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Greenest Awards in the World!

Rideau is doing its best to be socially responsible and green.

My brother Stephen heads up our CSR initiatives and some of his projects were recently featured in a French business weekly.

Anyways, the other day I had a meeting with a few of Rideau’s techies and the conversation turned to some of these green initiatives both internal and external. One of my young colleagues had a very interesting idea… he felt the best way of going green was to eliminate awards and use verbal praise in its place. That might be a bit radical for some, but it sheds an interesting light onto how Gen Y thinks.

Verbal praise is important. Use it!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Evolution of Recognition

I'd love it if someone would write the history of the recognition industry.

If they did, it would have to come from two completely different aspects.

The first, would be from the perspective of Academics and OD types who realized that recognition played a key role in a person's individual well being and collectively, to the well being of an organization.

The second would be from the perspective of companies supplying recognition and reward programs. Many of these suppliers got into the business because they were seeking an outlet for their manufactured products.

I confess that my company was no different... we were a manufacturer of emblematic jewelry and corporate award programs were a great outlet for our products.

I think there was and still is a wide gulf between the two groups and is reflected by the fact that over 90% of corporations have recognition programs yet 60% of employees don't feel recognized.

There has been far too much focus on the material and not enough on the ethereal.

Fortunately people are starting to connect the dots. People like my colleague Roy Saunderson of the Recognition Management Institute and Christophe Laval of VPHR are teaching people that recognition is about feelings and emotions.

Recognition is Universal

I just returned from Paris where I attended the well attended launch of Christophe Laval's new book "Plaidoyer pour la reconnaissance au travail." Roughly translated "A Plea For Recognition in the Workplace."

You can purchase a copy of his book in French here.

The book provides useful research and is a great read particularly for those who are interested in understanding how recognition is viewed in France and other European countries.

Christophe speaks with authority on recognition. He comes from the industry and for the last several years has headed up "Entreprise et Personnel" which is the French equivalent of SHRM.

Christophe is Recognition Professionals International's first European CRP grad and understands the cultural and international nuances of recognition.

After the launch, Christophe and I participated on a panel and discussed some of those differences with the audience.

One thing is certain... Recognition has no boundaries and while it may be delivered differently from one country to another, it is truly a universal concept.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Economy and Recognition

The world is a very different place than it was six months ago or for that matter three weeks ago.

People are losing their jobs and unemployment is rising. And it’s only going to get worse.

But if history has taught us anything, these things are cyclical. The economy will get better and people will go back to work.

What will not change is the fact that there will soon be more jobs than people to fill them. Demographics dictates this, not the economy.

But today's economic challenges do offer forward looking companies a great opportunity and that is to embed recognition into your corporate culture.

There is a lot of fear out there right now. Employees are not necessarily looking for pay increases but what they are looking for is open and honest communication. They need to know their work is being appreciated and this is where effective recognition strategies can play a huge role.

Recognition doesn't need to cost a lot. As I mentioned in a previous post, it starts with a name!

Reach out and engage your employees especially in these tough times.

Embed recognition into your culture. Make it part of your DNA and when things turnaround, your employees will remember and stay with you. Not only that, they will become your "recruiting" ambassadors.

George Washington didn't pay his band of revolutionaries a lot but if you study his management style you will see he gave them something far more valuable, he gave them recognition and hope. He turned them into patriots.

Monday, November 10, 2008

More Help From Your Friends!

Another great place to go for information is the Incentive Marketing Association.

This is the world's leading organization on incentives and incentive marketing.

This association is for providers only. Within the IMA there are a number of different Strategic Industry Groupings (SIGs).

Each SIG has a specific area of interest. For instance, there are geographic SIGs. European, Canadian and Australian members all have their own SIGs.

Then there are industry specific SIGs for companies who are focused on global programs, gift cards, performance etc.

I'm proud to have been a founder of the IMA's Recognition Council SIG last year and currently sit as its President. The IMA and each one of its SIGs are helping to enhance our industry and provide thought leadership.

While membership is closed to providers, the IMA website and those of its SIGs does provide valuable information in the form of white papers, articles and webinars open to the public.

Since I'm into shameless self-promotion I urge you to visit my SIG...!

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Little Help From Your Friends

Couldn't we all use a little help from our friends?

The recognition and incentive industry has some super associations that you can use for research and unbiased third validation.

Over the next few weeks I'm going to spotlight several.

The first organization that comes to mind is Recognition Professionals International .

This international organization is dedicated to embedding recognition as a business strategy in companies large and small.

Its membership consists of practitioners and providers split about 75/25%.

It holds an annual sharing summit and has become famous for its Certified Recognition Professional (CRP) courses based on seven best practice recognition standards.

It also holds its annual Best Practice competition. This competition judges recognition programs, large and small, from all over the world against the seven best practice standards.

It also provides a ton of research and everyday common sense ideas. It has a wonderful sense of community... I should know! I, along with many of my Rideau colleagues have been members since 2001. Also in the spirit of full disclosure... I've been on RPl's board since 2004. And no, contrary to what my colleagues at Rideau think... I did earn my CRP certification!!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Do You Have Employee Mercenaries or Patriots?

I believe there are two types of employees... those who I categorize as "mercenaries" and those who I call "patriots."

Which do you have?

Because the choice is entirely up to you... if you or your senior management think all your employees care about is cold hard cash you most likely will have a lot of mercenaries.

The problem with these folks is they have a bad habit of quitting the company if someone offers them more money.

Perhaps even worse, is when employee mercenaries stay with your company but disengage when they feel you don't pay them enough!

Great companies hire employee patriots who realize that employees want much more than cash. They want the opportunity to do exciting work, to feel part of a team, to develop and advance and to be recognized for who they are and what they do each and every day.

Employee patriots aren't just there for the money and they are truly committed.

Monday, October 6, 2008

What Makes A Recognition Expert?

All too often I have attended industry conferences and seen many so called "recognition and reward experts."

Scratch a bit deeper and the veneer comes off! I don't mean to demean, but there are a lot of people out there who are "reward" experts but they sure aren't "recognition" experts.
Recognition and rewards are very different things.

Rewards are material things. Cold hard cash, merchandise, gift cards are all examples of rewards. They are easily understood because they cost a certain amount and are distributed a certain way. There are a lot of reward experts.

Recognition on the other hand, is a feeling, an emotion. It is not easily quantified... ever try measuring how deeply you love your wife? In many cases it is not easily distributed or given.
So how do you determine whether you are speaking to a recognition or reward expert? It’s relatively simple.
  • Ask what trade organizations the person belongs to.
  • Are these organizations focused on products or on the art and science of recognition?
  • Do they have a professional certification? For instance, have they taken Recognition Professionals International "Certified Recognition Professional" (CRP) course?
  • When they speak to you, is it about product and delivery or about emotions?

Remember, just because you give someone a gold watch, doesn't mean you have recognized them!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Most Powerful Recognition Tool in the World

In World at Work’s Trends in Employee Recognition 2008 survey, it was found that nearly 90% companies in North America have recognition programs. Yet, according to research by Gallup, only 35% of people surveyed said they received recognition for good work in the last year. Why is there such a huge gap?

I believe most companies place far too much emphasis on “rewards” and far too little “real recognition.”

I live in Montreal, a wonderful multi-cultural and multi-lingual city (great food too!). Our local newspaper, The Gazette, is currently running an ad campaign to boost circulation and readership. Their full page ads feature lots of white space and the simple slogan “Words Matter.”

I couldn’t agree more… especially in the recognition business.

Words are the most powerful recognition tool in the world. If spoken from the heart, they can inspire us, lift us up and take us to a higher place.

In my opinion, it's not about “what” you give... it's about “how” you give it! And words play a huge role in the “how”!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cash is Not King!!!

Today's post is for those managers who think cash is the most powerful motivational tool available.

I do agree that cash compensation is important. It forms the foundation in Maslow's hierarchy of needs pyramid.

However, I think it is significant to note that cash sits at the "base" of the pyramid. It is certainly not king of the pyramid!

Cash alone will never take you to the top of Maslow's pyramid. And that's where you want your employees to be... at the top!

Happy! Satisfied! Engaged! Productive!

So how do you get employees to the top?

I believe managers need to "pull" employees up the pyramid! They need to "lend a hand" and they can do this by practicing "Real Recognition" techniques.

Real Recognition is a concept invented by my friend and colleague Roy Saunderson who is the Founder and President of the Recognition Management Institute. Real Recognition is simple enough, all you have to do is remember to actually practice it. For example, he’s blogged about the steps you should take to recognize employees who work from home. “Even a simple question asked in a P.S. tag line in an email can keep you in touch,” says Roy. This of course does not cost anything, and is a lot more meaningful than a check.

Real recognition, while not the only factor, can help managers pull employees up Maslow's pyramid and take them to a higher place.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Platinum Rule of Recognition

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the "Golden Rule of Recognition" meaning you treat your employees exactly as you would like them to treat you and your company.

Today, I'd like to talk about the "Platinum Rule of Recognition."

But first, let's examine the relationship between your company, your employees and your brand.

While your company may promise a great brand experience it is actually your employees who deliver it. Employees are your company's "promise keepers."

I'm sure all of us have had our own personal experience with employees who have made a difference... both good and bad! The type of employees who have made us vow "never again" and those who have made us come back to purchase time and time again.

More and more research shows there is a clear link between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction. (If you want to read some great articles on this and other relevant topics go to the Forum for People Performance Measurement and Management's website at

It is no coincidence that some of the most profitable companies in America are also the best companies to work for.

And this is where the Platinum Rule of Recognition comes into play... make sure you treat your employees just like you want them to treat your company's customers!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Golden Rule of Recognition

"Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms, greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind."
- Gordon Gekko from the movie Wall Street

Who can forget Michael Douglas’ lines from Oliver Stone’s classic movie Wall Street?

Although the characters were fictional, the times they portrayed were real. Consolidation and mergers were the rage. Those were the days of “right-sizing,” “down-sizing” all code words for “you’re losing your job!”

Isn’t it ironic that today’s managers bemoan the lack of loyalty from their workers? Is it any wonder? We have taught employee’s not to expect any loyalty from the corporation. So why should they be loyal to the corporation.

It is called the ethic of reciprocity. Don’t expect loyalty if you don’t give loyalty. Likewise, don’t expect commitment if you don’t give commitment.

At Rideau, we call this the “Golden Rule of Recognition”… treat employees like you would like them to treat the company. You’ll be amazed how far a little loyalty goes in improving your retention rates.

Practice the “Golden Rule of Recognition” because loyalty is a two way street!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Where Everybody Knows Your Name!

Who can name where today’s topic came from?

Here are a few hints...

- It was a famous tune
- It came from a hit TV show
- Norm, Carla, Diane and Sam
- It described a place
- A bar to be specific

Of course it came from the long running TV show "Cheers."

Company managers should catch up on Cheers reruns because the show’s basic premise provides a simple but powerful lesson in employer engagement.

In my last post I stated my belief that “employer” engagement is the prerequisite for “employee” engagement. In other words, don’t expect employees to be engaged if your managers aren’t engaging them.

This seems pretty basic, but as common courtesy goes, this is the first step to actually feeling like a valued part of anything.

For example, when you enter a restaurant and the maître d’ greets you with a, “Heeey Norm!” You feel like you’re a part of something: you feel respected and appreciated.

However, what if the maître d’ can’t remember your name? Even though you eat lunch there five times a week and have put the owner’s four children through college. What if all you get is an awkward look? But you know he remembers you, he knows who you are. You realize he may be just having an off day, maybe his hamster fell off the wheel temporarily. Nevertheless, you can’t help think he just couldn’t be bothered to retain your name.

It’s a situation neither of you want to be in and nobody feels good about.

So what can “Cheers” reruns teach us? That it’s important to have a company culture “Where everyone knows your name!”

Knowing and using someone’s first name is an important step to “real recognition.”

Recognition starts with a name!

Monday, June 16, 2008

How About Employer Engagement?

How often have you heard the words “employee engagement”? If you are like most HR Professionals, probably too often and to be frank, I think we may be putting the proverbial cart before the horse!

Let me explain…

The word “engagement” in our personal lives is a commitment two people make with each other. It’s a two way street! And I don’t believe a corporation can ever have great employee engagement if there is no real “employer engagement.”

Employees are usually considered engaged when they feel a strong emotional bond to their company. But who represents the company? It’s your managers and if they don’t reach out and make an emotional connection to employees, engagement just isn’t going to happen. In other words, it takes two to tango!

I believe there is far too much emphasis placed on employee engagement and not enough on employer engagement. The company and its managers must do more to engage their employees.

Future Shop is a company that gets it. A recent issue of detailed how Future Shop reaches out to employees with some very innovative benefits. One is the ability to go to university right at a store! How cool is that? Future Shop University provides leadership training to those who want to become general managers. Future Shop store managers receive increases that are partially linked to their employee’s engagement. Employer engagement works: turnover at Future Shop improved 10% over a two year period.

Employer engagement… try it. It works!

What do you think?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Thank You Thoughts Archives

"It is up to us to give ourselves recogniton. If we wait for it to come from others, we feel resentful when it doesn't, and when it does, we may well reject it." --Spencer Tracy

"Don't worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition." --Abraham Lincoln

"Motivation is the art of getting people what you want them to do beacasue they want to do it." --Dwight D. Eisenhower

"Management is nothing more than motivating other people." --Lee Iacocca

"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing -- that's why we recommend it daily." --Zig Ziglar

"What every genuine philosopher (every genuine man, in fact) craves most is praise -- although the philosophers generally call it ‘recognition’!” —William James

"The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated." - William James

"Flattery is from the teeth out. Sincere appreciation is from the heart out." - Dale Carnegie

"Admiration, n. Our polite recognition of another's resemblance to ourselves." - Ambrose Bierce

"In the arena of human life the honors and rewards fall to those who show their good qualities in action." - Aristotle

"Don't worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition." - Abraham Lincoln

"The only way to get people to like working hard is to motivate them. Today, people must understand why they're working hard. Every individual in an organization is motivated by something different." -Rick Pitino

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Recently Read Archives

  • Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive by Harvey B. Mackay
    One of my Board Members recommended Mr. Mackay's book. It is an easy read but to be frank, I didn't really enjoy it. Let me explain why...
    Mr. Mackay is in the envelop business. I would imagine this is a pretty tough commodity driven business where a fraction of a penny can make a difference. While he gives many pointers on building relationships somehow they just don't seem to ring true.
    Yes I'd like to get to know my customers better... but I don't want to read a cheat sheet listing the clients' kids' names just before I visit them just so they are impressed and I'll make a sale. I don't know... perhaps I'm being naive but I do believe that relationships have to be sincere to succeed.

  • True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership by Bill George
    I heard Bill George speak a couple of years ago at one of Jay Whitehead's CRO conferences. What a speaker... he spoke for about an hour with no notes or prompts on corporate ethics. I was really impressed but must confess that I was remiss in reading the book I bought that night. I finally got around to it and was not disappointed. Mr. George used real life examples and simple exercises throughout his book to make his case and teach how each one of us can find our True North. This is a very good book. Don't wait two years to read it!

  • Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
    I'm trying to remember who recommended this book but can't for the life of me remember who it was! Old age creeps up on me... This book is about the Generals who were at Gettysburg that fateful summer of 1863. It is written as a novel and I found it very enjoyable and educational for it takes you through the ebb and flow of the three day battle.
    I first visited Gettysburg with my wife Francine in 1993. We took a bus tour but I never really understood the battle until we returned to Gettysburg last year with my daughter Veronica on "American History" week. (We did many of the historical sites in Philadelphia, NYC and Hyde Park as well). This book brings history to life. Mr. Shaara passed away when he was only 59 but his son Jeff picked up the torch and I'm now reading his books on the civil war.

  • A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
    I read this book, actually the entire Peter Mayle series ten or fifteen years ago. Re-reading favorite books is something I often do. Its like visiting an old friend. I've re-read some books up to five times over the years. Anyways, I loved "A Year in Provence" then and I loved it now! Peter Mayle was a London advertising executive who decided to take a year off and move to the French countryside, more specifically - Provence. Needless to say he never left and his experiences spawned a series of entertaining books as well as one of my favorite movies "A Goodyear" starring Russell Crowe. One day, I'd like to live in Provence!

  • Rogues Gallery: The Secret History of the Moguls and the Money that Made the Metropolitan Museum by Michael Gross
    I love museums and the works of art they house. One of my favorite museums is the Metropolitan in NYC. So reading Rogues Gallery was a real treat. It outlines the history of the Met and tells the story of its benefactors and curators and leaders. I enjoyed the book although I'm not sure that everyone else would... especially some of those in the book!

  • American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meachem
    Andrew Jackson was the seventh President of the United States. He was a very controversial President. Known as "Old Hickory" he was the father of the Democratic Party and fought many epic military and political battles that forever changed the destiny of the USA.

  • American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin
    Robert Oppenheimer was a brilliant scientist who led the top secret Manhattan Project which led to the creation of the atomic bomb. Its creation was his triumph and his tragedy.
    He quickly realized the bomb would forever change the world and was a strong advocate for arms control and educating the public on the perils of the nuclear age.
    But he was caught up by his past and some very powerful forces. In his younger days, Oppenheimer had flirted with communism and the left wing movement. This was used against him in the early 1950s. The time by Joseph McCarthy and communist witch hunts.
    Sadly for us all Oppenheimer's voice was effectively muzzled at a time it could have made a difference.

My Friend Mark Archives!

A compilation of Mark's thoughts on recognition.

I can live for two months on a compliment! - Mark Twain

I have been complimented many times and they always embarrass me; I always feel that they have not said enough.
- Speech, September 23, 1907

An occasional compliment is necessary to keep up one's self-respect. The plan of the newspaper is good and wise; when you can't get a compliment any other way, pay yourself one.
- Notebook, 1894

Praise is well, compliment is well, but affection--that is the last and final and most precious reward that any man can win, whether by character or achievement.
- Affection speech, 1907

The happy phrasing of a compliment is one of the rarest of human gifts and the happy delivery of it another.
- Mark Twain's Autobiography

Do not offer a compliment and ask a favor at the same time. A compliment that is charged for is not valuable.
- Notebook, 1902-1903

It is a talent by itself to pay compliments gracefully and have them ring true. It's an art by itself.
- "I Was Born for a Savage" speech, 1907

One should not pay a person a compliment and straightway follow it with a criticism. It is better to kiss him now and kick him next week.
- Inscription written on fly leaf of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from the L. M. Powers collection. Reported in Kansas City Star, April 10, 1911, p. 6.

We are unanimous in the pride we take in good and genuine compliments paid us, in distinctions conferred upon us, in attentions shown us. There is not one of us, from the emperor down, but is made like that. Do I mean attentions shown us by the great? No, I mean simply flattering attentions; let them come whence they may. We despise no source that can pay us a pleasing attention--there is no source that is humble enough for that.
- "Does the Race of Man Love a Lord?"

A dozen direct censures are easier to bear than one morganatic compliment.
- Following the Equator, Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar

The form of a compliment has nothing to do with its value -- it is the spirit that is in it that makes it gold or dross. This one was gold. This one was out of the heart, and I have found that an ignorant hot one out of the heart tastes just as good as does a calm judicial, reasoned one out of an educated head.
- "The Refuge of the Derelicts" published in Fables of Man

The compliment that helps us on our way is not the one that is shut up in the mind, but the one that is spoken out.
- Mark Twain: A Biography

If husbands could realize what large returns of profit may be gotten out of a wife by a small word of praise paid over the counter when the market is just right, they would bring matters around the way they wish them much oftener than they usually do. Arguments are unsafe with wives, because they examine them; but they do not examine compliments. One can pass upon a wife a compliment that is three-fourths base metal; she will not even bite it to see if it is good; all she notices is the size of it, not the quality.
- "Hellfire Hotchkiss," Satires and Burlesques

None but an ass pays a compliment and asks a favor at the same time. There are many asses.
- Notebook, 1902; also in More Maxims of Mark, 1927

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Trying to keep up in the recognition field is like the proverbial duck who, although appearing to float along unperturbed, has to paddle like crazy underwater!

The art and science of recognition is one of the most rapidly developing fields in today’s corporate world. Because of that, it’s difficult for everyone to keep up with new technologies and strategies.

I hope you will find the Recognition Blog a useful tool to keep up, share and learn the latest and greatest in recognition!

The topics I hope to touch on are the direct ties that recognition has to both employee and corporate performance; how building a culture of recognition can affect your bottom line through improved employee and customer retention, higher engagement levels as well as innovative industry developments.

So, I invite you to participate in our new Recognition Blog and wish you many aha moments!