Recognition Gone Wrong * What’s Your Name Again?

The results of our “Recognition Gone Wrong” contest are in! I’ll be blogging this week on our first, second and third place “winners” and offering comments on how the recognition moment could have gone right.

Without further ado, here’s the story of wrecked recognition from our third-place winner:
“While working for a former employer, I won a Sales Manager of the Year Award. Out of the entire company’s sales force, approximately 130 individual managers & directors, I had the highest sales and several other major achievements that year. At the award ceremony, our company President announced the award and called me to the stage, as follows: “…and the winner is…’s Mr. Bill (no last name…as in Mr. Bill the Saturday Night Live cartoon character)” and he presented me with a logo windshirt and a plaque made of brass, faux wood, and felt. My last name was not spelled correctly on the plaque. I went to hang the plaque and the frame fell apart at the corners. The next year, the recipient of the same award but with lower total sales volume received $2,500 in cash, an extra week’s vacation, a trip, and a logo windshirt.”
Ouch. Let’s count the ways that went wrong:
1) Didn’t actually recognize the person as the wrong name was announced
2) Insulted the person by spelling their name incorrectly
3) Didn’t seek to know enough about the person to learn what would really be motivating and a sign of true appreciation to them

So what should have happened?
* First, be sure the recipient even wants public acknowledgement. To some, this is actually demotivating.
* Second, get the person’s name right! Two seconds of copy editing can save years of hurt.
* Third, present a reward the recipient cares about. Better yet, let him choose a personal, meaningful and relevant reward for himself from millions of options.
* Finally, make sure awards for the same achievements are fair and equitable or you will only foster resentment.

What else would you have done to make this recognition gone wrong go right? Tell me in comments.

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