Tools - Recognition (amazing value for your dollar)

A company I know starts each executive reporting meeting with a "shout-out".  Whereby each exec (round the table) has to recognize a person (something above and beyond). Then in addition, that exec sends a note to the person to let them know and to also recognize them again.

Wow, so much value in so many ways associated with such a simple process. A true leader creates a work environment in which people feel important and appreciated.

How often do you read about employee survey results that stated: “the organization does not care about their employees or the organization does not appreciate what I do”. The majority of those surveys consistently ranked praise and attention from their managers as the # 1 thing that would make them feel as if the company cared about them and their well-being and result in more loyalty, enthusiasm and pride in their work.

However, I also know of companies that over do it.  You constantly here "good job".  But quickly you lose clarity on exactly what was the good job, or are they serious, or expectations of praise on any and all aspects of your job.

So can try to focus on three key things:
a) find a consistent balance (when to praise and when not)
b) understand the platform from which to present it
c) make it as formal as possible (but NOT administrative)

To elaborate on b) as per above, it highly depends on the personality of the individual and the team that is receiving the recognition.  Present it in front of peers, or the entire team, or an organizational event, etc. Maybe highlight it with a picture or a note in the news bulletin or social committee board. You need to establish the platform and at a minimum, understand how it will be accepted by the recipient and other surrounding stakeholders.

To elaborate on c) (as per above), you should at a minimum cover 3 things:
1) state what happened 
2) explain why the individual is being recognized 
3) emphasize how it impacted the project/company

Other Examples of how project managers can reinforce recognition include:
• Write a short personal note – add the small things that were noticed and personalize it with a signature and a thank you. Tie in something outside work if possible (e.g. appreciate the time spent away from family).
• Give a gift – the gift does not have to be expensive but has to be sincere. Be creative, the gifts must be balanced between individuals, groups and the entire team. Examples of types of gifts include:
  • corporate merchandise,
  • gift certificates,
  • motivational artwork,
  • home improvement items,
  • chocolate,
  • gift baskets,
  • dollar store items;
  • days off;
  • pass to leave work early;
  • flexible scheduling;
  • food (breakfast, lunch, supper, treats, donuts, ice cream, etc.);
  • catered lunches (with special themes);
  • external food (BBQ, restaurants, hotdog vendors, etc);
  • cakes for special occasions (events, birthdays, milestones, work anniversaries, holidays, etc.);
  • formal training, conferences, lunch presentations;
  • memberships (e.g. associations);
  • professional educational support (e.g. classes, certifications);
  • something for their significant other.

• Give cash or options or bonuses – ensure the focus is not the gift but the reason why the reward was given. This ensures that when the money has been spent, the employee remembers the recognition.

• Keep it simple - if you are extremely short on time, schedule reminders in your calendar to recognize a minimum of 1 person per week. This could include a simple thank you and some details of how you are aware what happened, why the individual is being recognized and how it will make an impact.

Tools - Microsoft Project Steps before Baseline

MS Project is not an easy tool, but it creates one of the best Gannt Chart or Schedule display tools you can get.

People ask for a simple guideline that can be followed to create a Baseline for the Schedule.

Note: I also recommend following this if you are looking to track real costs, or levels of "Effort" (as PMI would call it) but in the MS Project software it is called "Work". One must clearly understand if you are tracking Calendar Time vs Duration vs Work.  Each tells a different story and has their place.

12 Steps Before Baseline and the Sequence to do it in, includes:
1)  Project Start Date (Project - Project info)

2)  Calendar (Project – Change working time)

3)  Effort Driven Schedule (File - Options – Schedule)
·        New tasks created (Auto)
·        Work is entered in: (Days)
·        Default task type (Fixed Work)
Note: Duration = Work/Units
(Advanced – Display Options)
·        Show Project summary task

4)  Task Entry (Deliverables, Work Packages, Tasks)

5)  Activity Sequencing, Dependencies/Linking (FS then SS, FF)

6)  Resource Sheet (enter initials)

7)  Assign Resources to tasks

8)  Assign level of effort (Work)
·        Milestones (zero effort)

9)  Level resources, alter resources

10) Verifications

11) Set the baseline

12) Track Actuals and Progress (% work complete)
·        % Work Complete Column
·        Bar colours and styles, bar text
·        Critical Path (View – Highlight)
·        Red/Dashed Status Date (Project - Status Date – right click gridlines)

PMTip - EQ Core Capacities

I took an EQ Assessment & continually go back to it - to continually learn more about myself.

It puts a formal approach and more of a science around how I work with different types of people under different types of environments.  It is never black and white, however, this is essentially a tool that lets me grow in one of the most critical aspects of project management and business (relationships).
Objectives of this assessment were to self-identify how well one can manage relationships in the midst of uncertainty (and thus this will also include how we manage risk, complexity, conflict and stress).

The assessment talked about 3 key building blocks.  By studying and understanding them, one can build tolerance, resilience, and adaptability, and give new capabilities to relate more effectively with others.

It is so important to realize how projects are managed today versus in the past.  The focus today is so much more on the "people side" vs the "systems side", and thus must include a focus on both yourself and the external people you interact with. 

There are many assessments out there, the three core capacities that were focused on for my assessment included:

1) Self-Reflection
Self-Reflection is the ability to access and name our experience, including our feelings, thoughts, wants, intentions, and body sensations, and the ability to observe our thoughts, feelings, and behavior in the moment as we participate in life. Having the ability to first experience and name our experience, to differentiate our experience from others, and to reflect and learn from our experience is fundamental to emotional intelligence, the very driver of our capacity to learn and grow. It is key to know one-self.

2) Self-Regulation
Experiencing varying levels of distress and pain is a natural part of life. This causes us to feel some degree of disequilibrium. Self-soothing is the capacity to experience our distress and manage it in ways that help us reestablish our equilibrium or balance without requiring others to change. We all soothe ourselves and our emotions daily in a variety of positive and negative ways, both alone and in relationship. It is key to measure how we regulate our emotions.

3) Empathy
Empathy is the ability to identify and analyze what another person is experiencing and to know what that must be like; to "get into another person's shoes." Deep empathy also will include an understanding how the other person is feeling. It is key to measure our levels of accuracy and compassion.

For more details, can start by visiting sample websites below of some great people that know this area:
(Note: the link above also has a free download)