Mark Hammer

Thanks for the link. Nice read.

About 3 or so years ago, I decided to look up an old prof of mine that I took courses from in ’74-’75, both of which were seminal in my training, and shaped my orientation and insight into research, one of which was a master-class that set the standard for me. I found him living on a Greek island, and sent him a note, recounting that class, and expressing how profoundly it had affected me. He was deeply appreciative, and we exchanged a few notes after that.

When it comes to “recognition” in organizations, I think the impromptu nature of a simple thank-you increases its impact beyond official recognition. I find that often the assorted framed plaques, and other awards that HR seems to think are so critical to maintaining staff morale and motivation, are allocated in a very politically astute manner; selected for being the least contentious or divisive. This tends to unyoke them from individual effort. That they are only awarded at a few designated times during the year further disconnects them from individual effort. And since it seems that every organizational function MUST dole out awards, an impromptu thank-you is perceived as something the thanker didn’t have to do; increasing its value. A simple thank-you has the advantage that it can immediately follow an effort (and Skinner would give that a thumbs-up) and, unlike awards, could be offered many times over by multiple individuals. Even when it is not offered contiguous with the action in question, it can still have value, perhaps because of the delay. When someone thanks you for something “all these months/years later”, the degree of perceived gratitude is that much greater because it is still remembered.

You wouldn’t think it would be all that profound an insight about management, but it’s nice to be appreciated, isn’t it? 🙂