The Power of Thanks: A book review by Bob Morris

Power of ThanksThe Power of Thanks: How Social Recognition Empowers Employees and Creates a Best Place to Work
Eric Mosley and Derek Irvine
McGraw-Hill Education (2015)

How and why effective social recognition will help to accelerate personal growth and professional development

Major research conducted by highly reputable firms such as Gallup and Towers Watson reveal that when asked to rank what is most important to them, both employees and customers (in separate surveys) indicate that feeling appreciated is either #1 or #2 on their list. Moreover, in the same separate surveys, employees rank compensation and customers rank price somewhere between #7 and #12. Years ago, Maya Angelou observed, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Presumably she did not have the aforementioned research in mind, but her comments eloquently emphasize the importance of recognition and appreciation, not only in the workplace but everywhere else as well.

Given the fact that, on average in a U.S. company, less than 30% of the workers are actively and productively engaged, social recognition is urgently needed to increase that percentage. Eric Mosley and Derek Irvine wrote The Power of Thanks to help leaders learn (a) how a “Positivity Dominated Workplace” creates and sustains a competitive advantage; also (b) that “a data-driven, proven and repeatable model for proactively managing culture.” Their focus is on a system of practices and technologies they characterize as “Social Recognition®.” In my opinion, this system (after only minor modifications) can be of substantial value to leaders in almost any organization, whatever its size and nature may be.

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Mosley and Irvine’s coverage:

o Culture of recognition (Pages xi-xvi)
o Company culture (3-13)
o People-first workplace (15-25)
o How gratitude spreads value around (31-33)
o Employee engagement and appreciation (37-40)
o Culture and the Heroic Leader (45-47)
o Social Architecture (47-58)
o The Social Recognition Journey (60-81)
o “Social, Mobile, and 24/7” (83-102)
o “Building a Social Recognition Framework” (105-150)
o Designing a recognition program (112-117)
o “The Green Light List” (148-150)
o “Driving ROI and Business Results” (151-171)
o “Becoming a Best Place to Work ” (155-157 and 160-161)
o “How Social Recognition Impacts HR” (173-184)

No brief commentary such as mine can possibly do full justice to value of the information, insights, and counsel that Mosley and Irvine provide. However, I hope I have at least indicated why I hold their book in such high regard. In months and years to come, as the global marketplace rapidly expands and the workplace is redefined by multi-cultural values and aspirations, social recognition will be of even greater importance.

When sharing their thoughts about an uncertain future, Eric Mosley and Derek Irvine share these thoughts: “Will predictive analytics ultimately make 100 percent accurate calls on who should work at what, where, and with whom in an organization? Human beings have a talent for defying predictions, and so ‘predict the future of prediction’ is a dicey business. But creating a perfect crystal ball is impossible. People will always surprise you with their capacity to grow and change.”

Hence the importance of establishing and then strengthening a system such as “Social Recognition®,” one that combines stability and flexibility to ensure that business initiatives will be consistently innovative. In this context, I am reminded of Rodd Wagner’s comments in his recently published book, Widgets: The 12 New Rules for Managing Your Employees As If They’re Real People: “Your people are not your greatest asserts. They’re not yours, and they’re not assets. They are someone’s son or daughter, brother or sister, mom or dad. They’re people — people for whom you have a crucial stewardship and with whom you are building a personal legacy that will last long after you have retired. Do right by them, make them happy, and they will be the major force behind the success you sharer with them, and the best part of being privileged to be a leader.”

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