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I have visited a number of people who have successfully made changes, some recognised and some not. The ones recognised proudly tell me what happened and sometimes show me a Certificate or another form of recognition. You can tell that if they were asked to work on something else they would have the same level of commitment. (PARTNERS)

I have also found others who had shown commitment and self sacrifice and had not been recognised. It is hard to say whether they would approach the next task with the same level of enthusiasm as before and what is so sad is that all they really wanted was some sort of recognition. Some still would, because that’s the way they are, but you risk losing others.

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Who could you recognise?

Those who raised it as a problem

These are the people we identified in the research stage who had made the demand for something to be done. For example, if a number of complaints had come in about your product, these people will have given you the knowledge that something was going wrong. What a great group of people to be there monitoring how things are going and how better than to thank them for raising the issues. They will certainly tell you what is really happening, and in time could become your great advocates instead of telling people how bad you are.

Those who were interviewed about the problem

These are the people who had spent their time being interviewed by you about the problem. It would be good to thank them. It may even be that the person you thanked provides you with further information about the problem, which had not come out at the time of the interview.

Those you visited to see what they had done

These people not only gave up their time, but also gave useful information about how they solved a problem similar to your own. As I mentioned above, a thank you or token of your appreciation would be a good thing to do as it may be they have had further progress on the problem and now feel motivated to tell you more about these developments. It would really strengthen your partnership. I have found that this policy of reward and recognition is particularly well used in the USA.

Those who implemented your actions

For these people it may not have been an easy task for them, and a thank you would be a good thing. It may be that, as you have taken time to thank them, they in turn take time to give you feedback on what was good and what could have been done better. In the same way, they may even have thought of other ways that things could have been done to address your problem.

Those who were interviewed at the Evaluation stage

These people took time to tell you whether the problem had been resolved and what could have been done better. After you have thanked them they may feel better disposed towards you and give you further information that could be useful. However, only do it after you get the feedback or you may influence the results.

Recognition is its own Reward

  • Go and see them and say thank you
  • Send them a thank you card.
  • Send them a letter. (There’s nothing quite as nice as opening a ‘thank you’ letter that acknowledges your efforts)
  • Send a separate letter to their line manager
  • Send them an email and cc their line manager. (The cc means that others can see what they have done without them appearing to be self-promoting)
  • Mention them and what they did in the organisation’s internal newsletter and on the website
  • Send an article including details of them to your trade magazine.
  • Mention what they did to the media. (Local newspapers or radio stations are always looking for good news stories and really like the fact that it is a local company or organization)
  • Give them a financial reward
  • Give them paid time off work
  • Offer them a training course, such as one on problem solving
  • Fund (or part fund) a qualification
  • Allow an attachment or secondment

Run a competition

If you are interested, we at Sixth Sense have details of our Problem Solving competition called ‘PARTNERS’ Problem Solving and Partnership Awards, that you can have free of charge. Just email  and ask for the information. Naturally, we would like to be recognised when you hold an event!


We have looked at why it is beneficial to thank others and how to do it. When you are looking at praiseworthy work, it would be a good thing to share your ‘Good Practice’ with others. This final article looks at how this could be done.

If you want to know more about this topic then please contact Neil via his DIRECTORY entry at this link

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Updated February 2015