Gifts That Keep On Giving – Symbolic Awards That Tell a Story

Hammer Golf ClubCenterpiecespaint brush 

By Michael McCarthy
Once upon a time, Performance Improvement Consultant Russell Justice wisely said: "The best positive reinforcement is anything that gives us a story to tell."
People go home from work with stories to tell every day. Most of the stories are not very positive. We want to give people good stories to tell.  Good reinforcement “creates” a story to tell. 
People say, “You won’t believe what the boss did today,” “Guess what Joe said,” or “Let me tell you what we did.”  We want them talking about the fun they had, and the excitement of accomplishment
At the appreciation dinner for the Nassau Habitat for Humanity in Fernandina, Florida, construction manager Patrick McCarthy found unique ways to give positive recognition to hard-working Habitat volunteers.
Using anecdotes and incidents from their work days, he created clever items that symbolized events, and running jokes among the “regulars” on the crew. Many volunteers were golfers, so Patrick modified golf clubs to create chuckles all around.
The volunteers from the framing crew each received a golf club with a hammer- head on the end.  Presenting these, Patrick deadpanned: “The only way Fred can swing his arm is with a golf club, so now he can practice an overhead swing with this hammerhead club.” 
For the painting crew chief, his golf club sported a brush at the opposite end of the grip. “This will reduce the number of brush strokes needed to paint a room,” quipped Patrick.
These items are treasures, of course, because they give people a story to tell. Patrick delighted them with their co-workers and family by telling funny stories about things that happened at work. And today those goofy golf clubs have become props for the stories their proud owners are telling to family and friends.
Symbolic recognition awards are . . . gifts that keep on giving.