Joe and Wanda, a few weeks ago we talked about the best recognition item you ever gave to a team member. Tell us about a recognition item that didn’t work out so well.
Joe Kerr: First of all, I don’t give a whole lot of recognition. My team members get paid to do a job and they do it. With that said, I do recall one instance a few years back that didn’t exactly go off as planned. I usually take my company’s Phillies tickets. My kid loves going to the park. We go as often as we can. One day I had a family emergency so I couldn’t make the game that night. I decided I’d make somebody’s day. I called Merideth into my office, thanked her for the great job she just did on her project and offered up the tickets. She told me she didn’t think she’d be able to clear her schedule. I told her how great the seats were and how she’d be crazy not to take me up on my offer. Then she told me she didn’t like baseball. Talk about an ingrate. I’ll tell you what, if I go out of my way to give someone some extra recognition, they had better appreciate it!
Now you’ve gotten me upset. That’s enough talk about the past. You’ve gotten me off my game. I’m a leader, I look out the windshield not the rear view mirror. I’m about vision. I’m about the future. I’ve got to be two or three steps ahead of the game to succeed in this business.
Wanda B. Goode: I’ve had some recognition backfire on me a couple of times. One time I gave a gift certificate to a steak house to a vegetarian. That didn’t go over too well. I just didn’t do my homework and didn’t take the time to learn about the team member. No excuses. I actually learned of my blunder from another team member. I quickly found out his favorite restaurant and picked up another gift certificate. I apologized profusely when I gave it to him.
Recognizing people takes time. If you try to take short cuts and you don’t make the time to learn about your team members, it can easily backfire.