One of the Four Conversations that get results is a Closure Conversation. There are four ways to have a Closure Conversation, but the second type of Closure Conversation can be especially costly if neglected:
Appreciate the people who are working on a project or goal, recognizing what they have accomplished and/or contributed and saying why their participation is important, both to you and to the larger project or the overall process of reaching a goal.
When people do not feel their work is appreciated, or that their situation is not recognized as being an important factor in affecting their performance, they may withdraw and further reduce their effectiveness. Or they may seek to punish you.
Two sculptors were commissioned to complete their statue of Nelson Mandela in South Africa on a very tight deadline. They were denied the opportunity to add a small trademark on the bottom leg of the sculpture in recognition of their work. This lack of acknowledgement apparently didn’t sit well with them.
The two sculptors inserted a bronze rabbit into the right ear of the 30-foot bronze statue of Nelson Mandela to serve as their signature. They said it was too small to be visible without binoculars. The rabbit was to represent how fast they had to work: the Afrikaans word for “rabbit” also means “haste”.
Appreciation is useful, as it re-engages people in their work and in communication while possibly preventing subterfuge or hostility. Include appreciation in your regular workplace communications to reduce the likelihood of finding a bronze annoyance hidden inside one of your department’s major accomplishments. You can see an example here: Mandela’s Bunny .