Don’t Ignore the Hidden Power Players

Do you know who the real power players are in your organization? I don’t mean your star salesperson, either. I mean those people who are the “go-to” people when you need to get something done.

Who’s the mid-level associate who always brings the project in on time and under budget, even though he’s not the one ultimately responsible for the project? Who’s the administrative assistant that everyone goes to with this request: “I know it’s not your job to do this, but I really need help. Can you do XYZ for me?” And the answer is always, “Sure. Happy to help.”

Those are your hidden power players. Unfortunately, they are also the ones most frequently forgotten in traditional elitist recognition programs that focus on the top 10% in an organization. Often, their direct managers are unaware of how much help they lend to others outside of their official job descriptions. What happens when they’re not appreciated for their efforts?

This letter sent in to the “What Would Bing Do” column of Bnet is an excellent example of this reality:
“In two years on the job, I’ve done some serious tasks that required trained skills in the administrative area. I make everyone look good to the state. But while they’re making state money, I only get minimum wage — and to top it off, when it’s time for recognition and they receive their little award, there is no mention of my contribution. I feel used and abused and also frustrated. Am I asking too much?”
Bing’s advice to this letter writer was to find another job where she would be appreciated.

Rather than lose your true, if hidden, power players, bring their accomplishments to light through a formal peer-to-peer recognition program that allows anyone to express detailed appreciation for assistance given through a process that alerts the power player’s manager to their excellent contributions as well.

2 comment(s):

At June 08, 2010 12:34 PM, Andrea said...

So how can you identify these contributors?

At June 08, 2010 12:39 PM, Derek Irvine said...

Andrea, strategic recognition is a powerful way to do this. This goes beyond even formal recognition programs that lets one employee recognize another (or a team). Our approach is to let anyone also give their shouts of "bravo!" to a recognition, lending weight and appreciation to every recognition moment. If you properly capture these initial recognitions and "bravos," you can quickly uncover your hidden power players.