Top Down Honor: Value Beyond Expense

In my preceding post I shared my interest in what factors contributed to the design of this past Rio 2016 Summer games. I like medallions for recognizing employee contributions. To me they offer the twin components of effective tribute … artistry and message … and when those are combined in top down honor, leadership inspires followers.
If you think about it, that same “twin” exists in the effective design of greeting cards. When you shop for a card you make an initial judgment based on the cover design and graphics. Does it set the right mindset and will it be meaningful to the recipient? Then, when you open it up to the inscription, you make a judgment of the sentiment. When both elements match your intended congratulations or expression of thanks, even a pre-printed stock card carries meaning.
Geokinetics-5 - CopyMedallions, or coins, offer leaders this same potential for thoughtful tribute. I reflect on this parallel in two medallion projects in my Portfolio.  There are other factors that make medallions rank high on my list:
• compact size: they do not require a lot of real estate in someone’s home or office.
• material: highly artistic with the possibility of three-dimensional relief, is achievable whether the base metal is pewter or 14k gold.images - Copy
• cost: given the material choices above, there is considerable cost latitude.
• historic context: coins, or medallions, were prevalent mementos in commemoration of achievements throughout history … hence there is that inherent additional context of contemporary “history making” when we bestow for accomplishments by employees today.
• collectible: when it’s important to honor successive stages or phases of a multistage or multiyear mission or project, not only is there the visual image of progress as successive coins or medallions are bestowed, article-2226278-15CC0A8C000005DC-873_634x415but coins reinforce leadership’s expectation of completion wherein participants are inspired to get the “whole set”.
Napoleon reportedly said “men will risk their lives, even die, for ribbons”. In my March 2016 Historical Tribute post here I shared the story of George Washington launching the Honor of Military Merit, a simple cloth badge bestowed in lieu of a pay increase upon promotion. That initiative by Washington has evolved into today’s Purple Heart tribute. So, in the workplace “trenches” of today people do not have to risk their lives for recognition. However, they will “stay the course” and battle for your customers if their contributions matter to leadership. That’s the value beyond expense; attention from “the top” … ribbon or badge … inspires followers, and not by command!

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