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Good solid observation, Derek! Brennan's Law #10 on Motivation is, "One second with a bucket of water wins more attention than a year of high humidity. And it’s more resource-efficient."

Excellent point, Jim. Thanks for bringing up Brennan. I like is "Laws" -- succinct and to the point.

Hi Derek,

Great post! In their book How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work, Keegan and Lahey talk about ongoing personal regard which is expressed as direct (that is, spoken directly to the person), specific, and "nonattributive," which they explain as describing the speaker or group's experience of the person rather than the person's attributes. In the example you present, ongoing regard might sound like, "Ted, thank you so much for helping out on your day off. I was so relieved to see you and because you were there, I felt a lot less stressed that day." I'm guessing that real regard would be worth a lot more than $25 in snacks.

Best wishes,

Excellent example, Tara. That's precisely how we coach our clients for meaningful recognition. "Great job on project X, Tom. Because of your attention to detail, you caught a flaw in the process that could have cost us a great deal of time and money and impacted our relationship with Critical Client. Well done, and thank you!"

It's the details that matter...

So true! We've all sat across from a manager focusing on the lameness of a particular reward rather than the intended appreciation. Mind you, I was once thrilled by a $25 Starbucks certificate so perhaps the venue rather than the amount was at fault.

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