Acknowledgement and Appreciation: Giving in All Directions

We Can All Take Responsibility for Acknowledgement and Appreciation

Given the profound impact that acknowledgement and appreciation has on people, imagine if it was widely present throughout an entire organization or company. When it is, it makes everything so much easier. It makes it so much easier to work together. It makes it so much easier to practice the other elements of The Collaborative Way®. It makes it so much easier to take on really challenging commitments. However, the traditional pathway for acknowledgment to move through an organization is downwards. So, I would acknowledge those that were below me in an organization, but that’s a very limited pathway for something that has such a profound impact. So, the breakthrough is how about each one of us take on the responsibility for acknowledgment and appreciation being present throughout the whole organization or company so that we each, yes, acknowledge downwards, but we also acknowledge our colleagues; we acknowledge across the organization; and we acknowledge those above us in an organization. Now, that’s where it gets extraordinary. 

Give Everyone a Chance to Acknowledge Each Other

I learned this early in my career. I was running a staff meeting for about 100 people–some of them managers, some of them staff. At one point in the meeting, I acknowledged several people for contributions that they’d made. And, as I was about to move to the next subject, a person–a man in the room–raised his hand and said. “Lloyd, I’d like to acknowledge someone.”

I said, “Sure, go ahead.” And he stood up, and he acknowledged someone for their contribution and sat down. And then, I said, “Does anybody else want to acknowledge anyone?” And someone else raised their hand, and they acknowledged someone else, and that started to happen throughout the room. And I could feel the energy that was in the room and the shift that took place, and wow, that became a common practice from then on in–anywhere that I worked–is giving people the opportunity to acknowledge each other so that not just me, the leader of the group, but others could acknowledge each other for what we were doing and the contributions we were making. And I’ve seen that now spread to so many companies practicing The Collaborative Way. They’ll have a team meeting and open it up so other team members can acknowledge each other and sometimes even the team leader. I’ve seen it done in very large company meetings and opened it up, and it’s just so exciting to see when people acknowledge each other, rather than it’s just being top-down. And this acknowledgement doesn’t have to happen just in meeting formats. It’s just useful to have those opportunities. When we really begin to look for those opportunities to acknowledge people across the organization, it makes a big difference.

Acknowledgement and Appreciation Inspired Us All

I appreciate this gentleman in his company. He was in charge of recruiting, and one of the things that–this was a construction company, and they would pave roads and make bridges, other things of that order. One day, he was driving across the bridge and noticed how smooth the asphalt was and said, “Whoa, this was one of our crews that did this.” He reached out and acknowledged the crew for that. Wow, that made a big difference to that crew, that somebody else in the company would go out of their way to appreciate and acknowledge them for the hard work and skillful work that they’d done. The more we can do this, the more we can look beyond our own group, look out across the organization, that’s how we get acknowledgment and appreciation to become the secret sauce. And it makes such a difference. I’ve had CEOs that said, “Lloyd, this is the first time I’ve ever been acknowledged like this, and you know, it inspires me to be a better leader.” As it does inspire all of us. I really encourage you to take on this practice of acknowledging people all around you–up, down, across the organization. Take on that personal responsibility, look for those opportunities, seize those moments to appreciate each other. It’ll make an extraordinary impact on your company, on your team, for you to do that.


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