You Get What You Reward
Change the incentives…and you change the behavior
A funny thing happens on the way to success…
You build integrity, character, discipline, and a host of other intrinsic benefits that add credence to the old saying, “the journey is its own reward.”
Goals are generators of value, often because of what you learned and became en route. But having something that symbolizes achievement — a reward — is a powerful extrinsic motivator for continued progress.
If you want to improve your performance results, increase innovation to gain and sustain competitive advantages, create an environment that fosters social responsibility and ethical behavior, and increase energy levels then you must make rewards and recognition standard protocol.
Rewards and recognition showcase, promote, and celebrate a specific type of performance excellence.
They provide an effective but uncomplicated means for reinforcing quality behaviors.
Rewards not only serve to honor the accomplishments of exceptional individual or team performance, they bolster and endorse the specific actions, behaviors and values that you are striving to put in place.
A war hero may receive a Medal of Honor. A Professional Athlete may win and subsequently receive a Gold Medal, or Championship Ring. An Actor may win an Oscar, and a Singer may receive a Grammy. A writer may receive a Pulitzer. A Martial Artist may obtain a Black Belt. A hotel or restaurant may receive a coveted 5-Star rating, and a young child may win a trophy for a local Spelling Bee or even a three-legged race.
Rewards must be earned, as there is no other legitimate way to achieve excellence and personal mastery.
The one magnificent and common element behind awards, the glue that holds them all together is that each must be earned.
To pay the price, to study long and hard, to compete fairly and focus one’s effort on a goal until achieved is part of the sweetness of life.
That is exactly the type of behavior that is deserving of a reward along with significant recognition. A reward put simply is an extrinsic symbol for the enforcement and celebration of intrinsic values.
All well-earned award reminds the holders, their families, and the world community of acts of courage, quality, originality, attention to detail and excellence personified.
Rewards continue to inspire long after specific accomplishments fade from memory.
Few things are more demoralizing than having nobody notice consistently good performance … the successful culture is one that provides constant recognition and applause.
At the same time, it breeds a restless dissatisfaction that keeps you challenging yourself to a ever higher performance.
If the need for recognition and approval is a fundamental human drive, then the willingness to give it is not a sign of weakness. The goal of rewards and recognition is to expand and exemplify the definition of excellence.
Those being recognized for excellence serve as models for their colleagues, inspirations to their communities, and leaders in their area of discipline.
You get what you reward, therefore a reward is the return for the performance of desired behavior.
As we all know…the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, and when you reward the right behavior and results, you almost guarantee a repeat performance.
The trick is identifying the specific behavior(s) you want repeated as even poor behavior, if rewarded gets repeated as well.
Rewards are good positive reinforcements — they make you feel good about your achievements, the price you paid for that achievement, and they reinforce the behavior and attitudes that led to those achievements.
Success in any endeavor requires that you identify and credit exceptional performance from yourself and others. This is crucial to reinforcing the level of productivity and quality you want and expect.
Everyone realizes the value of going the extra mile, quality, and persistence, follow through, and sustained focus. But few take the time to celebrate the successful accomplishments associated with such behaviors.
Recognition celebrates achievement and builds confidence; it provides an incentive to further achievement by raising the standards and performance bar a little higher.
It’s an indispensable self-management tool and must become an integral part of every organization’s business and people strategy.
Recognition is also a key strategy to addressing the demographic, economic and generational challenges that business faces in retaining and motivating employees.
Therefore, anyone serious about competing and playing to win must foster the use, effectiveness, and enthusiasm for recognition and rewards.
Performance is the key to success for any organization. Systematic reward and recognition programs that support the organization’s goals, values and mission offer one sure way to enhance performance.
Become a great believer in the importance of celebration and rewards as prompt, positive reinforcement in the form of commemoration and celebration is essential to morale.
We need markers, milestones as indicators or symbols of our progress and success. Without these markers we easily get lost or apathetic.
We need recognition and rewards to give ourselves encouragement and to remind us that we have achieved important goals.
Don’t let your achievement and the feeling of victory evaporate without some kind of reward and recognition. Rewarding yourself for your wins and accomplishments is an essential part of the combination for success.
Imagine all the effort a new lover takes to get your attention… flowers, chocolates, a song dedicated to you broadcast from your favorite radio station, a surprise call or personalized card that tells you how special you are.
How long has it been since you’ve paid yourself such consideration?
Too few people devote time for ceremonies, for occasions on which identity is formed, defined, and affirmed. And, when ceremonies are observed, they are too often carried out in a dull, hollow, perfunctory fashion.
If necessary, create occasions to celebrate.
After all, you probably kick yourself when you screw up. Why not pat yourself on the back when you reach an important milestone, go above and beyond the call of duty or deliver an outstanding performance.
Be proud of your accomplishments and recognize your own achievement. There can’t be enough said of having earned something and enjoying the fruits of your labor.
The range of rewards is great so here are a few principles of rewarding yourself:
· Always reward your major achievements.
· Reward yourself for intermediate steps and victories.
· Make rewards commensurate with the accomplishment.
· Ensure that rewards are personal and sentimental.
· Reflect on your performance and allow yourself time to celebrate.
Anything that increases the behavior you want modeled is a reward.
To understand if you have a reward, you must observe its effect. If the ultimate outcome increases the behavior you want to increase, viola, you have a reward.
A well-earned reward is the poster child of commitment, quality, excellence, and best practices.
Why? Because you get what you reward!
Gary Ryan Blair is creator of the 100 Day Challenge…a radical approach to goal achievement that shows people how to achieve 10X size goals by applying the methods and best practices of growth hacking. Get all the details here.
Join a powerful community of 600,000+ aspiring people and get the training, support and environment you need to unleash your greatness.
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