By Sunny Simon

On a serious mission to purge unwanted files, I filtered through the masses of paper in my office and unearthed an old “Warm and Fuzzy” file. The red folder contained cards and letters from family, friends and employees. Sifting through the contents a small thank you card with a bear dancing in the sunshine caught my eye. Inside the author penned, “Thanks for noticing my hard work. Glad you are the head of our team.” I smiled at the memory. Danielle, a member of my staff at the time was indeed a dedicated employee.

Years ago, during my tenure as a new manager, I was influenced by multiple management gurus. Perhaps it was in Ken Blanchard’s book, “The One Minute Manger,” where I first learned the value of “catching people doing something right.” Apparently I caught Danielle doing something right which inspired a nod to me as her manager.

Although this management concept comes from an old book, I believe the wisdom is timeless. In a recent online article Blanchard advises, “The best way to start this habit is to take an hour out of your week to just walk around and observe what goes on in your organization.”

I agree with Ken. It’s that easy. Survey the workplace and you will find employees adding value and driving business. The next logical step is acknowledgment. A word of warning here, a mumbled good job and robotic pat on the back won’t cut it. There is an art to offering up effective praise. It must be sincere, meaningful, timely and specific.

Whether you are trying to motivate employees and build a winning culture, or get your seven year old son to toss his dirty socks in the laundry hamper, place daily focus on catching “the right.” If your daughter cleans up her room, or your son takes out the garbage without your prodding and prompting, a gracious “thank you for being so considerate” and a lively high five will elicit pride and encourage continued positive behavior.

Think about making the concept universal. Catch people doing something right wherever you go. Enjoyed the impeccable dining service at your last girl’s night out? Go one step beyond a generous tip and leave a complimentary review on Yelp mentioning the server’s first name. Or ask to speak with the restaurant management and complement him or her on a great hire. A final thought: Your words in a card or heartfelt email will go a long way and may even make it into someone’s “Warm and Fuzzy” file.

Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching and the author of the blog, www.lifeonthesunnyside.net

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