A member of the management team raises the question; “How do we thank everyone for their hard work lately?”

A brainstorm brings out the idea that everyone gets a nice gift on their desk to arrive to on Monday morning.

Then comes a specific suggestion, how about some chocolates and a bottle of wine?

A great idea, it sounds lovely.

Well, it sounds lovely to me and perhaps you too, but…

…to Syed, a Muslim who of course doesn’t drink?

Or to Jo, a recovering alcoholic?

Or to Graham, who is allergic to chocolate?

Or Annie, who simply prefers beer to wine?

What anyone really wants as a gift is something that shows you understand and care about them as in individual.

Do they have a manager that knows them well? (If not, why not?) Could they think of something different for each of them?


“It would take a lot longer and require a lot of effort to do that!” I hear you say. Well, yes, it would. It’s certainly a lot easier to treat everyone the same. But is it effective?


So, what sits behind that example? What is the principle, the rule of thumb you could apply to that question or to myriad situations you’ll be faced with when managing staff, or designing systems and processes?…







Treat everyone as an individual

Recognise that their needs, desires and motivations are specific to them and that if you want to get the best out of them and keep them happy, no generic treatment will do. Ever.

The fact is, wherever you fail to treat people as individuals, be they suppliers, customers, or your team, you will get sub-optimal results and at worst, you will lose them.

With this principle in mind, think about the question yourself.

How will you thank everyone for their hard work from now on?

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