I struggled to stay awake as the BT board bored us with the cost cutting blah @ the AGM last week. Too much droning on about cost cutting at the expense of almost everything else, including very simple recognition. Cutting costs may well be necessary but it ain’t sustainable and boy is it dull, haven’t they got any other tricks up their sleeve?

I’ve been studying the links between lack of recognition linking to lower engagement linking to decreased loyalty.

Rather than just squeeze until the pips squeak, what else might you do to get people fired up and enthused in these difficult times? Before I left BT I posed a few questions to the Global Services leadership team, they were:

How are you going to motivate your people?
How are you going to get them to give the discretionary effort that’s so vital in delivering a great customer experience?
How are you going to get your people to trust you, and each other?

Referencing the first question specifically, Roy Saunderson drew my attention to some interesting analysis from the USA and Canada. It would be convenient to dismiss it just because it’s not from our own backyard, but I think it’s worth a look, and a think, and a do. My experience in BT Global showed me that simple basic recognition is poorly executed. Less than 3 out of 10 could strongly agree with the statement “In the last 7 days I’ve received praise or recognition for good work”. That’s despite the fact this statement is widely acknowledged as a critical key in the link between managers and staff. BT is not alone as the data below suggests and as I suggested to Ian Livingston (BT Group CEO) before I left, just think how powerful BT could be if it could get just one step ahead of the herd in these vital areas?

Have a read, have a think and do. The sad news is I saw little evidence of action when on the inside, and if the board are to be believed, that attitude persists. The great news is this can be easily fixed, in any company. I hope you enjoy changing it and I wish you every success in doing so.

Recognition definitely needs leadership at the helm, so lead on!!


Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.