Organizational excellence – Importance of appreciation

April 11, 2011 at 10:03 am | Posted in Blogroll, Organizational Excellence | Leave a comment

Last week I read an interesting news item in the local Indore paper. The traffic police stopped those who were following the recently introduced traffic rules like use of seat belts by car drivers and of helmet by the two wheelers. This was in direct contrast to the normal practice of going after the offenders and ignoring those who were disciplined. The first reaction from the later kind of people was of concern and worry. But they were pleasantly surprised, when they received a certification of appreciation, a red rose and a cold drink to quench their thirst.

In the past, the traffic police had tried their best to enforce the rules through issuance of challans but with little success. It was always a case of “hide & seek” as a result the rules never successfully implemented and the disciplined people lose their faith in the system. This novel idea brought smile to the face of the active supporters of the system and envy for others. Hopefully, both would be motivated in future to follow the rules rather than trying to find ways to sabotage.

Does it mean that the punitive measures should be completely eliminated? No. They have their place but only for the habitual, shameless and hardened minority. For the majority of the public, they would go either way easily. All it takes is slight change of approach and taking benefit of natural need for appreciation felt by all humans.

There is an interesting concept called “structured freedom” which says that best way to ensure responsible freedom is to provide just the right kind of structures. They should be pleasant & unobtrusive for those who work in the interest of the system and harsh on those who are either guided by their narrow interests or take cynical pleasure in subverting the system. This concept can act as a guide while formulating policies and procedures in an organization.

Appreciation is a strong motivator and when judiciously used with harsh measures for intentional abuse can be effectively used to channel the energy of the majority towards org interest. The appreciation does not have to be in the form of rewards in kind. A genuine & specific appreciation given as soon as the positive action is noticed goes a long way in reinforcing such actions. If done publicly, others are motivated to do the same. This creates a self-sustaining system. Since the occasional offenders are ignored, the bottlenecks & impediments created by them in resistance are avoided. Positive energy is encouraged which directly helps the organizational excellence.

I would appreciate any thoughts / experiences from you that either support or challenge what is said above.

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