– recognition and praise.”
–Mary Kay Ash
I’ll start off by saying that Mary Kay Ash is one of my heroes. No, I am not a Mary Kay consultant, although I got my start in the Direct Sales Industry with her company, back in 1983, and have family that is still with her today! That says a lot about the two women in my family who stuck with her.
I ReTweeted a wonderful tweet the other day from a great though leader that read:
Of course I added my joyful reply and my day was made! I proceeded to secretly go around to 5 people I know and let them know that they are important to me.
The whole process took a little time, because I made a card for one, had a phone conversation with another, and wrote messages to the other 3. I did not do anything outwardly sappy, but I let these people know that they are making a difference that impacts my life and the world.
Have you ever thought about the basic human need that we all have to be recognized and acknowledged? Jeffrey Combs says “Babies cry for it and men die for it”. It is really true. A little baby will cry in their bassinet for 15 minutes until mom or dad picks her or him up to love, change or feed them. Sometimes it’s not even that a need is there to be met, but that of LOVE. It starts there.
A study was done in Europe once of little babies that were separated into two rooms. Group 1 was given lots of hugs, loves and touching. Group 2 was only fed, changed and returned to their crib to lay there hour after hour. Group 1 was held and rocked most of the time. Group 2 was not at all.
What was the outcome as if you could not guess? Group 1 babies thrived. They grew, and grew and were happy and healthy, laughing and cooing all the time. Group 2 were ill all the time, failed to thrive, and a couple of them even died in the study from nobody loving them. I know this is sad, but it proves a very stark point..we THRIVE ON LOVE..and acknowledgement, just like flowers thrive on sunlight and water!
How often do we acknowledge people? What I mean is, do we do the simple little things to let our friends, family and business partners know that they are important to us? Sometimes it could be something as simple as a smile, or a kind compliment to a spouse that can completely revitalize that person AND their relationship. I know it sounds kind of silly, but sometimes our relationships don’t know where they stand with us. Communicate..it does wonders!
As far as business is concerned, there are certain personality types that thrive on recognition. They would rather be acknowledged by their peers, win awards that they earn, walk across the stage, speak in front of the group etc, almost more than earning income! Of course we all want to earn income, but being acknowledged for our efforts if even in a small way by a leader or a sponsor helps to keep us going! It might be a note in the mail that just says “Great job on your first sale! I really appreciate having YOU on my team!” It could be placing a picture on facebook of your team member and stating their rank advancement with a sincere cheering on statement. People LOVE this..they eat it up all day long, and will work for more. This is just how we are wired. For some, it’s just not important, and it’s all about the money. For others, it more about seeing the people THEY HELP get all the glory.
It’s important to recognize that acknowledgement is a positive motivator, and one that feels very good on the giving end every time. If it comes from your heart, people sense it, and they want to know you more, be around you, and follow you.
In a team or family environment people respond so favorably to recognition and acknowledgement, that it can be used as a tool for positive reinforcement and goal setting. We love to see when we are doing things RIGHT and we love even more to see a measurement of how well! A leader that fails to acknowledge his or her team is in a subtle way planting doubt, because the team members expect acknowledgement of some kind, at some point.
This is the mark of a great leader, who knows how to cheer on their troops and take the spotlight off herself. Let’s get back to the Great Mary Kay Ash, who was The Master at praise and recognition! She started it all with her yearly conference in Dallas. Women would (and still do) work their “bee-hinds” off all year to win the Pink Cadillac or another automobile, The Diamond Bumblebee, a mink coat, trips, diamond rings etc. Mary Kay would parade the ladies across the stage in their evening gowns just like a Miss America Pageant. Do you think for a moment Mary Kay was not fulfilling the DREAMS of every woman on that stage?? The housewives of America getting to be “Queen for a Day”. Brilliant. She even had a thrown up on the stage for the Top Recruiter and Top Sales person. I was fortunate enough to witness this amazing spectacle years ago, and it’s probably changed a little, but it was magnificent!
That’s a very extreme example, but to the simple example, just watch how social media works. Acknowledge the people you meet on the social sites in a sincere way, and you will begin to create a following for yourself. Comment and share often, and just be yourself! There’s no doubt that acknowledgement changes days, changes moments, and changes lives.
My father had a saying “Make friends where ever you go”. He used to say that people at the bank, the grocery store, the dry cleaners, are rarely going to get acknowledged, and if you take the time to look them in the eye, and ask them how their day is going in a sincere way, you will make a new friend. You must do this without an agenda, expecting nothing in return but acknowledge them, and let them know “You Matter”. They will like it, and many times you will make their day!