Learn to give out the Free Fuel…Appreciation, Recognition and Encouragement (A.R.E.). This is the subject of chapter 7 of my book which will be published on October 14, 2008, but can be pre-ordered right now by going to my website: www.LeeCockerell.com
Exxon is an expensive fuel at around $4.00-4.50 a gallon. My fuel A.R. E. is a free fuel. This is the fuel that powers human performance.
Lee often tells the story of Priscilla saying to him that if you love me, then tell me. This point is made when Lee teaches his Time Management class when he gets to the discussion on remembering to do the right things and learn to schedule your priorities. Your priorities should be in your calendar if you are really serious about them.
Hopefully you don’t have to schedule time to tell someone you love him or her, but at work you could make a note to yourself every day to thank people for the good work they do. It could be a note to them, a passing comment in the hall, or in a one-on-one discussion. The point is that none of us ever gets an overload of positive feedback, and this feedback is often the fuel that drives performance to the next level. It actually is the fuel that launches better and better performance because it builds self-esteem and self-confidence.
One time in Lee’s early career, he had just joined a new company as a restaurant manager. Little did he know how messed up the place was. They didn’t tell him that in the interview. He had been there about three weeks working his tail off and wondering if he could ever fix the place. He thought he was doing all of the right things, and then one night it was really bad. Call-ins, angry Guests, equipment not working, and on and on. He had been there three weeks and had not received any feedback from his boss or the General Manager. He went home that night and told Priscilla, “I think I made the biggest mistake of my life coming here.”
He was actually thinking about leaving. He went in the next day, and there in his mailbox was a note from the General Manager that read:
“Dear Lee, I am sorry that I have not been in touch with you or spent any time with you since you got here; but I have been busy with next year’s budget and just have not had the time with the holidays and all. I just want to tell you that you are doing a great job and that I am getting excellent feedback on your management skills and leadership. We are all excited to have you on our team and look forward to working with you. I know you are going to have a great career with our company. Happy New Year, Lee, and Best Wishes!”
Well, timing is everything; and Lee still has that note. He spent 17 years with that company. He thought he was doing a good job, and all he needed was a little boost to help his self- confidence because he is just as insecure as anyone else. That little note was someone telling him he was loved, and he loves to be loved. He went home and told Priscilla that night: “You know this is a really great company. I can help them, and I can fix that place.” She looked at him like he wasn’t well, until he told her about the note from the General Manager.
We all know how important recognition and positive feedback are with children in their development. Well, we know it if we have read anything on this subject in the last 10 years; and it has been in every magazine and paper. Most mothers know it without reading anything. We just know! It goes like this:
When Lee’s grandchildren, Margot, Jullian or Tristan do anything well, Lee says, “Good job.” When they try and fail, he says, “Good job, try it again. You can do it.” It just seems that the more positive feedback they get, the more self-esteem and self-confidence he sees developing in them. Lee tried this with Tristan when he was 2 months old; but all he wanted to do was eat, sleep, and cry. So he was not quite ready for much feedback yet, so we give it to him in a different way, by holding him to give him his dose of caring and recognition to build his self-esteem and self-confidence. Lee’s goal is for his first word to be Lee. . . . Mother