Excerpts from the book ‘How Full is Your Bucket?’ by Tom Rath & Donald O. Clifton.


The magic Ratio 

Gottman found that marriages are significantly more likely to succeed when the couple’s interactions are near that 5 to 1 ratio of positive to negative. When the ratio approach 1 to 1, marriages “cascade to divorce.” 


The magic ratio: 5 positive interactions for every 1 negative interaction 


Recognition is most appreciated and effective when it is individualized, specific, and deserved. 


The nightmare scenario 


Consider thr true story of susan, a manager, and her stellar customer service representative, matt. The following events transpired at a large insurance company that gallup consulted with in the 1980s. When susan became a division manager in this organization, she quickly learned that her success would hinge on her ability to inspire her customer service group towards better performance. 


Would look up at some of her favourite plaques on the wall and remember the rush she felt from wining an award. That really got her going. 


So, susan decides to set up a major awards ceremony to recognize her customer service reps. She held the event at the finest hotel in the city. She invited all of the reps and their families to the celebration, and she hired a well known speakers and some first class entertainers. 


The last portion of the programme was the major yearend recognition for the individual reps with the best annual performance. To further highlight Matt, the top producer, susan would save his award for last. She wanted that presentation to be the night’s main event. The drape covered easel on the stage inspired a lot of chatter and anticipation. 


Susan hoped this award would motivate Matt for years to come, so before announcing that Matt was the top producer, susan detailed a long list of all star employees accomplishments and showered him with praise. Then, she pulled the drape off the award and head the prize over her head as she read Matts name. 


To susan’s amazement, just the opposites happened: Matt was furious! The painful expression on his face and his hostile body language spoke volumes. 


The energy rep walked to the microphone and proceeded to tell the group that he did not event want the award it was just a plaque and had no meaning for him. Plus, he had a bunch already; he did not need one more. 


It was the worst night of susan’s life. Not only had this debacle hurt the morale of the group, susan now needed to figure out a way to win back her best customer service representative. So, after susan got over the shock of the whole affairs. She started to think about how she could acknowledge Matt in the future. 


A One Size Does Not Fit All Approach 

Susan started by learning more about Matt. She discovered that this star employee loved nothing more than his two young daughters. Whenever Matt talked about them, his face lit up. At the office, he was always showing off the newest picture of his daughters. 


The next year, Matt was again one of the top customer service reps. Susan was determined to get the awards ceremony right. She had called Matt’s wife and asked her to take the two girls to the best photographer in area for a formal portrait, and to keep it a secret. 


When the big night rolled around, everything was in place. Susan began the ceremony by talking about a very special man. She described not only the top customer service rep, but the passionate family man as well. Then, Susan unveiled the beautiful portrait of Matt’s two lovely daughters. 


Matt immediately rushed towards the stage and embraced Susan. His eyes were filled with tears. Everyone in the room was moved. Matt could not have imagined a more meaningful and personal kind of recognition. It changed the way he looked at his boss and job forever. 


Individualize, Individualize, Individualize 


 The reason here is clear: if you want people to understand that you value their contribution and that they are important, the recognition and prise you provide must have meaning that is specific to each individuals. 


Not only is individualized bucket filling more effective in boosting productivity in a workplace, it builds sustainable relationship and changes people’s lives forever.