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We know it’s important to give positive feedback in response to a job well done. Simple recognition of effort can be a fantastic reward that provides continued motivation for future tasks. But sometimes it seems to get tedious to keep saying “great job” over and over, especially if you work with a large team.
Excellent work must always be recognized and differentiated as such. High performers are intrinsically motivated by doing excellent work and producing something that impresses others. When that credit is not given, over time they will redirect their effort and contributions towards work that does meet that need for high achievement.
It is true that this is an expectation that comes with the job—to get work done without error and within deadline. This work still deserves appreciation and recognition, albeit at a more moderate level. You don’t want to overstate the contribution, but you do want to acknowledge that the effort it took to complete the assignment is not being taken for granted.
Last but certainly not least—and in fact, most work will fall in this category—is work that delivers more than the minimum but is not quite out of this world. The goal here is to recognize that it is good work but you don’t want to muddle the feedback to sound like it could be one of the other two categories.
However you choose to say it, don’t skip it. Positive feedback makes us feel recognized and appreciated, it identifies what we have done right (and thus gives us a clue to what we should do more of), and it makes negative feedback and constructive criticism easier to accept and integrate.
Help your employees get energized. Give them this free eBook:
Express gratitude in a genuine, effective way using our free outstanding letter of appreciation for job well done sample.
Dear Ernie Kelley,
Thank you for the fantastic job you have been doing for our company lately. Your hard work and dedication has really helped us out during a difficult time in our company. We just wanted to make sure you know how much you are valued and appreciated.
We know that the recent round of lay-offs has been very bad for company morale. Not only are people worried about losing their jobs but many people are having to cover additional duties that are not part of their job descriptions. We also know that both before and during this time you have worked tirelessly to keep your department going. Not only do you complete excellent quality work yourself but we have seen you help your coworkers as well. You come in early stay late and even use your lunch break to help pitch in and get things done. Furthermore you do this all with a fantastic attitude and willing disposition.
Thank you Ernie for your hard work and dedication to this company both throughout the past few months and even before that. We really appreciate all that you do.
High performers need positive feedback; they do a great job and they should have that acknowledged. However, phrases like "great job" or "nice work" are so vague as to be virtually useless. And in some cases, they may even do harm.
Let’s imagine that one of your high performers just did a great job on a report. What made their work great? Well, perhaps they got it done three days ahead of schedule. And maybe they added some extra data analyses that you hadn’t thought to request.
Now, your high performer has just done great and hard work, with extra effort and creativity, and we come along and say "great job.' There are a few problems with that. First, it sounds like we don’t understand everything the high performer accomplished (i.e., beat the deadline and made a better report). Second, it can sound like we don’t appreciate everything they accomplished.
And third, the phrase ‘great job’ has little pedagogical value. It doesn’t teach the high performer which of their terrific behaviors you would like to see repeated in the future (beating deadlines and adding extra analyses).
So what could you say instead of "great job"? Try this:
Pat, the way you got that report done three days ahead of schedule means a lot to the customer, and to me. And the extra data analyses you did were really creative and added a lot of value to the report because you discovered the root cause of the customer’s issues. Thank you.
You are one of those great people who doesn't wait for opportunities to Congratulations for a job well done!.
Even though I use the word “hire” about 15 times in my book When Coffee and Kale Compete, I never explained what it meant, and how it relates to Jobs to be Done theory.
Clay’s book, Competing Against Luck, uses hire a whopping 231 times! But again…he neither defines it nor explains why it’s used.
Both Clay and I made a mistake. The result? People say hire without knowing what it means. This exacerbates the confusion around Jobs to be Done. Sometimes people make fun of it (figure 2).
This article aims to fix that. After reading, you will know the 4 unique characteristics that distinguish hiring from using, buying, and consuming. They are:
Note: You will better understand this article after reading Why Is It Called “Jobs to be Done”? (And Why Is This Important?)
Just so we’re on the same page, let’s briefly investigate using, buying, and consuming.
Check out figure 1. There are different things there:
Which brings me to hiring. Let’s begin.
First, understand that there’s nothing physical about a hire. It’s not an action. Rather, it’s a willful choice that exists in the consumers’ head only.
This means a hire cannot be observed. You can see consumers use/buy/ consume, but you can’t see them hire. Being both unobservable and relevant makes hiring a latent variable within JTBD theory. And because it’s a latent variable, we can only discover hiring through gathering whatever data we can, and coming up with the best possible explanation of when and how it happened (abduction).
For example, imagine two children who play the piano. Now, even though you can observe them playing the piano, you cannot observe why they are doing it. And until you know why they are playing the piano, you cannot abduce if either of them has hired play the piano for a Job to be Done.
So, after talking with the two children, you learn:
In this case, we learn:
Question: Does an employer hire an employee every time she shows up to work? Of course not! The employee is hired once. After that, the employee is doing her job.
The same is true with hiring a product for a Job to be Done. A consumer hires a product or service just once. After that, it’s just consumption.
This is an additional big difference between hiring and using/consuming/ buying (and is another reason why it’s called Job to be Done). The latter are things you do over and over again. Whereas the former describes a willful choice to ongoing using/consuming/ buying.
So, hiring is a one-time choice you make…but a choice to do what?
At the beginning of each year, many people start having the Job to be Done “become fit”. They investigate various solutions like gyms, personal trainers, medication, supplements, and sports. Many people determine “going to the gym” (often consumed in concert with other solutions) will help them make progress towards “be fit”.
However, many people who sign up for a gym membership stop going after a few weeks. Why? Well, even though they consumed going to the gym, they never hired it. And they never hired it because they never had that magical moment of “yes, this is going to work!”
Recall what Jobs to be Done theory is about: describing how consumers want to become something tomorrow, that they are not today. That’s why we use the word progress. Progress isn’t about doing things — or even doing things cheaper, better, or faster — it’s about making a positive change. And unless consumers experience progress when consuming a new solution, they will never hire it.
So when it comes to our gym example, lots of people buy and consume “going to the gym”, but only a small part of those people will actually hire it.
Those who do hire going to the gym, are those who have that experience of “yes, this is going to work for me! This is going to help me make the change I want!”
Many concepts have a duality nature to them: right vs wrong, life vs death, knowledge vs ignorance, positive vs negative….the existence of one necessarily excludes the existence of the other.
Using, buying, and consuming don’t have this duality quality. For example, when you use a drill, it doesn’t necessarily mean something else. You either use it, or you don’t.
When it comes to hiring, when you say that you’ve hired something for a JTBD, it necessarily means you’ve fired something else.You cannot hire something without firing something else. They always happen together.
Again, we can use our gym example from before. When someone with the “become fit” JTBD hires go to the gym + diet plan, they fire sedentary lifestyle + eating junk food (figure 7).
Once again, this is another unique characteristic of JTBD. With hiring and firing, you build a market model that includes:
If your use of hire is interchangeable with use, buy, or consume — you’re using it wrong. Remember, there are four crucial aspects of hiring. They are:
After this article, perhaps you will hire this new definition, and fire the old one.
(All puns intended)
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