Recognition and business results: the result that matters most

President and CEO of O.C. Tanner, Dave Petersen, talks about the business results of recognition in this excerpt from his talk at our seventh annual Executive Recognition Summit.

Video Transcript

The host of the Executive Recognition Summit, Dave Petersen, opened the two-day event by asking leaders to think back and remember the first job they ever had. From what beginning did their careers unfold? The responses: delivering newspapers, building pools, working in shirt shops, mowing lawns, washing dishes, serving fast food, picking lettuce.    
“We all have a start somewhere,” said Petersen. “We all began our career in some way. And no matter where we started and where we are today, we all learned early on that the big part of work is about results. In fact, as leaders, aren’t we all about results? Top line, bottom line, gross margin, employee retention, employee engagement, market share, inventory turns, patient satisfaction, and results. They’re all critical to the health of an enterprise. However, the fact that we’re gathered here today is proof we know there’s another result, a far bigger, more important result. It’s the result that makes all other results possible, and that is the development, the encouragement, the acknowledgment, and the engagement of our people as leaders.”
“Since our first jobs, all of us have learned more and more about getting results. And usually, we measure those results with numbers. In hospital rooms and care facilities, doctors and nurses measure results by monitoring blood pressure, oxygen levels, pain, heart rate and untold other important numbers. But it’s also important to listen and empathize with the patient. Medical professionals don’t just look at numbers, they also apply patient feedback, past experience and extraordinary judgment.”
“In business board rooms, there are pages of spreadsheets, ROI calculations, performance statements, risk analysis, SWAP analysis, forecasts, business plans, PowerPoint presentations, all products of research, measurements and sound thinking, all important factors to consider and study when making decisions.” 
“But great leaders also have a feel for things. They can sense when something is working or not. They don’t always need all of the analysis.  In fact, they may choose to ignore data in favor of judgment, belief or feel. They instinctively know things that the numbers don’t know. Have you ever had that experience? Of course you have,” said Petersen. 
“I’m surrounded by great people at O.C. Tanner and I bet you are too. We depend on them and they depend on us. I think much of our responsibility as leaders is to unleash that individual and team potential.”
Petersen concluded by asking leaders if their organizations had purpose. Did they believe in it? Did their people believe in it? Going forward, leaders should consider, while analytics are important, they can often feel what’s right more than what can be quantified. “Pay attention to that sense, feeling, and intuition because it rings true and leaders can count on it.” 

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