Most of what people do every day is “part of the job.” If you wait for them to do something extraordinary, you miss an opportunity to acknowledge the value they provide on a daily basis.
Recognition is quick and easy and it gives people the energy and positive feelings they often need to take risks, get creative or find that final push to get work done. Rather than think, “If they do something great, I’ll recognize them,” consider, “If I recognize them for their day-to-day work, they will be more likely to do something great.”
It may feel like the action being recognized is common sense or a basic part of the role, but ask yourself: “Does everyone do it that way?” and “Can others learn from this?” If not everyone does it and others could learn from the best practice, it is worth recognition.
Football analogy: Rather than waiting for a championship or a touchdown to celebrate, celebrate the first downs that get you and your team towards your goals. If you wait for the touchdown, you may miss your chance to use positive reinforcement to motivate the team!