Extraordinary Team Blog

What’s Your Signature Reward?

Posted by Kristin Arnold on May 17, 2012

I was talking with John Phelps, the CEO of the Arizona Bar Association just the other day about what he does to build high performance teams.  We started talking about what he does to reward those who go above and beyond in demonstrating the values of the staff at the AZ Bar:  Excellence, Integrity, Loyalty, Respect, Service, Stewardship, Tradition.

John pulled out a small medallion – a coin much like I have seen Commanding Officers use in the military.  He says, ” We have these medallions made with a core value imprinted for each year.  I carry them around in my pocket.  If I see an employee demonstrating one of those values, I reward it on the spot.  And  they don’t come easy!  I’m the only one who can give it out.  People will send me a note, call me or pull me aside and let me know when someone is deserving.  I’ll run over to their cubicle and say ‘I heard you did something and give them a medallion with the value that they demonstrate. When you go around the office to the cubicles and desks, you’ll see these proudly displayed.’”

I call this is “signature reward” – it is unique to John (he’s the only one who does it in his organization), is in alignment with who he is (retired from the US Army), and reinforces the core values of the organization.  John also expects each of his direct reports to have their own internal way of recognizing the values and performance on an informal basis.  It is unique to that specific leader vs. an organizational award such as employee of the month.

What’s your signature reward?