Notice who you take for granted

Leadership Moments: Make-A-Hero

David Ortiz – Big Papi to Bostonians – was recently honored by Make-a-Wish for his work in the community. By granting the wishes of children with critical illnesses, Big Papi has brought a little more light into the world; it’s a use of his position and celebrity that exemplifies sports leadership. It’s a form of charity, as well, and some might wonder why it needs celebrating, after all, isn’t the work itself reward enough?

The celebration of Big Papi’s work isn’t really trying to create an incentive (“if you grant this many wishes, you too could get a nice little obelisk as a Wish Hero!”); but it serves several purposes. It tightens Big Papi’s relationship to the organization. By showing appreciation, it keeps the organization in the front of his mind. It connects Make-A-Wish’s stakeholders – both donors and recipients – together a bit more tightly. And it does serve as an awareness moment, potentially making other potential celebrity partners more aware of the organization.

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One Minute Pro Tip: Like Santa, Make a List

As leaders and managers, when asked to recognize (for an award, promotion, pay raise) someone on our team, there is often a very shortlist that immediately jumps to mind. It’s usually our most visibly productive team members, but it might miss folks who make contributions that are less visible on a day-to-day basis. To make sure we’re noticing everyone on our team, use an external memory tool: a list. An electronic one, because you’re going to be editing it a lot.

Put your whole team into an ordered list. Whenever someone is recognized – a positive comment in your staff meeting, an award – move their name to the bottom of the list. That’s it. Over time, your list will become the list of least recognized people on your team. Use this to solicit feedback (maybe these are great but unheralded people; maybe they are under-performers hiding in the shadows, maybe they’re mismanaged), so you can lead your whole team, not just the known high performers.


Chapter 37 Teaser: Celebrating victories builds relationships

One of my favorite expenses, in terms of “value for cost,” has always been cake. Not just any cake, but cake with the executives. Recognition is a really challenging concept in a lot of organizations – do you give out spot bonuses, or just a note on their performance review, or maybe a small lucite plaque? Sometimes, someone just did their job, so why would you give a reward on top of pay, given that that is what you’re paying them for?

In many organizations, individuals have more power than the think to make or break a project. If they aren’t invested in the project, they can cripple it with minor slowdowns (tickets worked on at the end of the day; terse and unhelpful status updates; bare minimum quality of work). The goal of a project manager is to ensure that your projects get the highest quality of work from participants. You can demand it, of course, but it’s easier to receive it if it’s freely given. Staff work harder for people they have a relationship with. Telling people how much you appreciate their hard work is great, but … cake is better.

When a project completes, have a small party, with the most senior executive who was aware of the project. Make this a norm, so that staff come to expect it; this isn’t a reward, it’s earned recognition, and staff will be a little more likely to stay engaged on your projects when you return the favor with increased visibility.

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April 11, webinar, host: Creating a Cloud Security Strategy.

April 18, 1% Leadership is released!

April 19, webinar chat: Writing your Cloud Opus: A Deep Dive into Orchestrating your Cloud Security Remediation

At RSAC (times Pacific):

April 24: 10:50 am, Telling Fairy Tales to Your Board

April 24: noon, RSAC bookstore, signing books

April 24: 5-7 pm, Welcome Reception, Orca Booth 527, book giveaway & signing

April 25: 7-9 pm, Orca Security Cocktail Reception

April 26: 2:20-2:35 pm, Bishop Fox Livestream

April 26: 6-9 pm, YL Ventures & Portfolio Companies Reception

May 7-12: Tel Aviv

May 16: panel moderator, Cloud Security Live

Order 1% Leadership Now!

On the bookshelf

Well, besides 1% Leadership, which I just received my copies of (y’all have to wait until next week), books that just showed up to enter my queue:

Lessons in Leadership, by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Good Power, by Ginni Rometty

Behind the paywall: Pay attention

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