The Twitter community has a tradition called “Follow Friday” where they promote fellow twitterers who do good work. If you’re not familiar with it, drop Hoots a line here and she’ll bring you up to speed (or you can read about the origins of Follow Friday here).
You need to do something similar in your world. I don’t have a catchy title for it, but until someone else can come up with a good turn of phrase, let’s go with “Good Job Monday”–I know it’s not right but that’s what I have for now.
Here’s what you do: specifically and genuinely encourage someone who made last week better. All over the world, people are starting their morning thinking about this week. Some are dreading it. Some are anticipating it. Often they’re remembering all the things they did wrong. Wouldn’t it be amazing if they also had in their mind something they had done right last week?
We all know the power of encouragement and kind words. I can remember very specific words spoken to me by teachers in elementary school, bet you can too.
So, here’s the way it works. Today, tell someone you work with how they made last week better.
Here are some ground rules:
1. Reach down not up. Don’t encourage your boss or your board. You need to be thanking and encouraging your donors, but you’re doing that all the time. This is for the person who answers the phone at your place. This is for your assistant who juggles all those balls for you. This is for that printer who made that tight deadline last week. Thank and encourage someone who isn’t expecting it. Think of people who do thankless tasks every week. Think of people who deliver at such a consistent level that you don’t even notice their good work.
2. Follow the formula. Be thankful. Be specific. Describe how they made a positive difference. Tell them “thank you.” Tell them specifically what they did so they will know what to do again. Don’t say, “good job,” say, “You know, I got to thinking this morning about the work you did on that brochure we printed last week. You followed up on every detail and made sure that the colors were perfect. And you kept us on budget! Because of you, that brochure is going to have terrific impact. You made a big difference. Thank you.”
3. Don’t add on. Once you’ve followed the formula, STOP. Don’t shift into the day’s work. Don’t add to their to-do list at the same time. Let them enjoy it. Just encourage and thank them, then let them bask in the moment.
4. Deliver it right. In person is wonderful. Drop by their desk, look them in the eye and do it. An email is good because they can keep referring back to it. A phone call works, too. But, in person is best. Looking someone in the eye and telling them they are important is the very best. You may wonder why I’m not suggesting a letter or a note. If you’re like me, it takes time to find the note and then it will take even more time to get it just right (not to mention locating a stamp). Don’t delay. Skip the note, go straight to face to face.
5. Prepare for confusion. When you do this, be prepared for them to wonder what you’re up to. That’s some of the fun. On a phone call, I’ve noticed there will be long hesitations as they’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. You may see a guarded look in their eyes when you say your “thank you” because they’re wondering what you’re up to. That’s OK, that just means you’re doing the right thing.
And here’s one unexpected but real side effect. You will enjoy it as much as they do. Try it. If you do, you’re giving them and yourself a good Monday. They deserve it and you do, too.
So, what do you think? Got a better name for this? Let us know how your Monday encouragment goes.
(photo credits: psd)