Leadership Lessons: Small Things Go A Long Way

Since most of us aren’t independently wealthy, we work in order to pay the bills and make steps toward building a secure financial future. If we are to do truly great work, however, we must feel both inspired and appreciated. That’s the really tough part. As the leader of a company, I spend a great deal of my time remaining committed to the part of my vision that aims to make it a great place to work. Actually, I use the word “love”. I aspire to lead in such a way that employees “love” working there.

I wrote in a previous post that employees want to feel special, to be treated like individuals, respected, and made knowledgeable. The big things, like annual staff awards are good and very necessary. However, like the played out ‘Employee of the Month’ selections, sometimes only the “stars” get noticed. Recognition begins to feel more like a popularity contest, leaving the mere mortals feeling neglected.

My management team and I have decided that while we will continue to reward excellent overall performance, we will commit ourselves to finding new ways of recognizing and celebrating the little things that happen every day. One of the very simple, and easy to implement ways we do that is using our ‘Value Board’.

The core values we have embraced are action statements, as opposed to lofty concepts. They are simple to understand, and easy to remember:

1. Do the right thing
2. Treat people right
3. Think outside the box
4. Make a difference

We encourage managers and staff alike to take the time “catch” team members living our values. On wall-mounted cork boards, we post these acts on index cards and sticky notes, as a small token of our admiration and thanks. In the hustle and bustle of the work week, with phones ringing off the hook,  customer queues and reporting deadlines, it is great to walk down the hallway and know that there are people really shining. While this simple initiative may seem corny to some, when team members look up and notice that some extra effort shown was not overlooked, but recognized and appreciated, it is priceless. Small things really do go a long way.

It is amazing how quickly the cards accumulate, as team members from every department take the time to notice others living our four core values, and shining every day. It reinforces excellence and goes a long way toward creating a culture of appreciation. We plan on taking things a step further by randomly selecting monthly prizes, to further celebrate team members who lived our values that month.

It’s amazing how quickly the good deeds pile up!


I would love to hear  some of the ways in which your Company celebrates small wins and provides recognition across your organization.


3 Replies to “Leadership Lessons: Small Things Go A Long Way”

    1. That’s a great idea, Ron!! We post some of them to facebook, but we could tweet the “big ups” every single day! Thanks for the great suggestion.

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