Recognition is a reward in itself. Any form of appreciation, even a small word, is important.Vikrant Massey

One of my clients recently startled me with a stunning question.

He said, “I enjoyed chapter 6 of Lead With Speed, but I wondered why you didn’t talk about recognizing the first good thing a team has accomplished?”

Chapter 6 of Lead With Speed shows examples of what a leader needs to do after completing a significant planning event. Planning events are a powerful method in providing a model for how work will be accomplished. 

The leader must follow through after such events. For example, the team leader must prepare to handle the first team failure or the first challenge from senior leadership.  Chapter 6 details examples of how to respond in a way that grows the desired team culture.

What I neglected to do in that chapter is discuss what a team leader should do when they see the team doing something right. My client was correct. Every exceptional leader should think through how to respond effectively to team successes. 

For example, what should you do when a group of people has an exceptional design session? Or provided outstanding high-quality results for delivery to customers? Or handled a team conflict in a way that resulted in a better approach to a technical problem?

I suggest taking the following example actions in recognizing people who are actively creating the culture desired.

  • When you see the good thing or hear about it, immediately reach out and thank the people for how they did the work.
  • At a team meeting, recognize what they did and explain why you found it valuable.
  • For genuinely exceptional behavior and results, ask the individuals to summarize how they achieved the results they did. Take the time to set up a session where they can share what they did with people beyond the team.

I am happy with the feedback I received about Chapter 6 on what was working and what was missing. I recognized my client for their insights.

Have you thought through how you will catch people doing good? When your team creates the culture you desire, are you prepared to recognize the people creating it?

  1. List item number one goes here
  2. List item number two or the second can go right here just after list item number one
  3. I guess this one must be the third item because here it is just after the second one
  4. And so on with items in this ordered list!
  • List item number one goes here
  • List item number two or the second can go right here just after list item number one
  • I guess this one must be the third item because here it is just after the second one
  • And so on with items in this ordered list!
They find it hard to believe that is possible to deliver defect-free software to customers.  And I am telling them our goal is to deliver near defect-free software to test. I am also working to help them understand that doing work in this was does not sacrifice speed. It is actually faster.

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,


Alan Willett

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

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