It Would Have Been So Easy…

We have been taping presentations for an International Project Management Day global video event on November 4, 2010 and I needed input for some questions I was asking for my program segment, which is on Leadership and The Power of Acknowledgment. So last week I posted this question on the LinkedIn Power of Acknowledgment Resource Group:


How do you feel when you work on a project for months, you put your body, mind, heart, soul, and spirit into it, you don’t get to have a family dinner, but still you feel the result is worth achieving. The project is completed, the users love the results and your manager does not even say “thank you,” or acknowledge you. How do you feel/what are the results of this feeling? Be specific!


I received this comment from Ralph Spiegel:


“When I get involved in a project that commits me at a level greater than my “job” would normally require, I am doing it because I have a sufficiently developed sense of passion for the results I am likely to generate. The presumption that these results will benefit my company in more ways than could ever be repaid by financial remuneration means that I expect that a sense of “job well done” would have been forthcoming. Over a 30 year career in banking, I have been through this type of scenario on numerous occasions and found myself to be greatly disappointed when the anticipated accolades were not forthcoming. While it is my nature to give my best when asked to take on a job responsibility, this disappointment was experienced once too often and was truly at the root of my taking an early retirement.

It  would have been so easy for the boss to simply acknowledge the  effort put forward toward the greater good of the institution…they didn’t…they lost a good employee.”


This kind of story — which I hear frequently — breaks my heart. There is so much focus on employee retention and talent management these days. So what happened in Ralph’s situation is a total waste, in my estimation. I bolded his comment that it would have been so easy, because that is the absolute truth. Yes, it would have been! And that is what each of us has to both remember in our dealings with our people, and put forth to senior management continuously. We need to make acknowledgment and appreciation part of our corporate cultures. We need to let people know they are valued, and that they make a difference. If we don’t, we see the result. Don’t let it happen. Make the commitment!