Last year, we had a ServiceQ team strategy day, which my mentor Peter Cook brilliantly facilitated for us. It was a superb day, facilitated with much thoughtfulness and care, and I was grateful to be a part of it with my team.

Pete took us through a stunning activity involving praise of each other. He simply referred us to our company values and asked us to give thought to each member of the team and recognise which value they most often display at work. The team’s unanimous feedback was that the praise activity was the highlight of the day!

It got me thinking about how simple and yet effective praise can be in lifting spirits and boosting morale. The key is to praise people for who they are being rather than for the tasks they’re performing. The company values can be a framework for this. (Check out our company values here), which we used on our strategy day.)

When you’re on the receiving end of behaviour-orientated praise, it stays with you as a positive, lasting memory.

In workplaces, we don’t always see what is already strong and working well. We’re more likely to notice what others could do to be better.

When we point out the good in others, we’re reinforcing what we want to see more of. This naturally has a ripple effect on how people show up and serve customers.

I reckon a very cool piece of work for every business is to write a clear set of values and behaviours that describe “what good looks like” when people are serving each other and customers in the workplace. Once this values framework is in place, it can be your basis for praising effectively and encouraging the good behaviours you want to see more of in your service culture.

“Let us praise even the slightest improvement. That inspires the other person to keep on improving.”

—Dale Carnegie

Question

When did you last praise someone for the way they behave?

Practice

Using a company value or one of your own values, praise someone this week for living that value and be specific about the impact that that has on the customer.

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