A while ago I wrote a post called ‘I HATE feedback’ and one element of that post was about doing more to tell others, specifically and in detail what they did right and the diffence it made. This post is also inspired by @sukhpabial recent post about the Best. Appraisal. Ever. and influenced by @alisonchisnell recent series of #adventblogs.
These three things have come together to remind me of the power of one of my favourite things to do with others. When I managed a team I did this every week on a Friday, at first they were a little nervous and if I am honest suspicious too. After 3-4 weeks though, it made a real difference to them and to their performance.
It was called the Friday afternoon call. Each Monday I would head up a page in my Black & Red book for each person in my team with their name pride of place at the top. At the end of each day, often the last thing I did before I left the office, I would reflect back on what those in my team had done well that day. I would record what they did and the impact it had on me, others and/or the business.
This list would grow as the week passed and then on Friday (after lunch) I would review the list and pick the top (ideally three) things that had made a real impact. Then I would call each of my team, in turn and thank them for all their hard work this week. The format would be:
Thank you for all your hard work this week. In particular I have been really proud when you did ………………. The impact it had was ………………… What can we do to maintain this brilliant standard/performance?
Let me be clear, this was always genuine and took real effort. It is far too easy to skip over or pay too little attention to things that are done well, doing so takes energy and concentration.
As I mentioned, the initial scepticism, discomfort and nerves went away after 3-4 weeks and then people really started to enjoy it. In fact it got to the point where the team really looked forward to the call and enjoyed it.
After three months or so I committed a cardinal sin, I forgot to call. I was so wrapped up in my own world I simply forgot. The impact of this was really interesting:
– I got a call saying; What is wrong? Why haven’t you called? Have I done something wrong? Haven’t I done anything that made a difference this week?
I was mortified that I had forgotten and more important was the impact it had on the other person. I vowed always to remember from that point onwards.
In fact, I still make the calls. With the team, they are less frequent (monthly) and they are less specific as I am not with these people every day. What I will do is note and record things we have discussed in our normal conversations and play that back to remind them of all the excellent work they are doing and the difference it is making.
I also use the same approach with colleagues, clients and others that I interact with. It really makes a difference. It shows that I have bothered to take the time and effort to really consider what has occurred and the impact made.
Earlier thos week I asked my old team what it meant to them when I makde these calls. The responses were:
“Made me feel loved, wanted, important and happy. Sometimes sad because I don’t get it from my current leader.”
“It reminds me that people notice what I do which keeps me wanting to perform at my best!”
This is an approach that worked for me and my team. I strongly suggest you find your way to create that Friday feeling.
What do you do already to create that Friday feeling?
When do others create the Friday feeling for you?