Erica Pinsky



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The Best of Erica #3


If you’ve been part of the Road to Respect community since 2010, you might recall this post on The Power of Recognition.  I chose to highlight it this month as for me it really speaks to how we show up at work from a values perspective.


I’ve just returned from a transformational time in Bali.  I am feeling incredibly grateful that I was able to go and for the experiences I had at Pantai Mas, a family run spiritual retreat in northern Bali.


I had the opportunity to attend a number of Balinese Hindu temple ceremonies with the family.  On the first occasion, before donning the special temple clothes that had been made for me, I asked one of the family members what I needed to bring, thinking I might need money for an offering or contribution.

She looked at me, smiled, and said, “just bring your heart.”


Imagine what our workplaces, our workplace relationships and interactions would look like if more of us chose to bring our hearts, as well as our heads, to work. We might find heart centred values like compassion, respect, joy, creativity, and community becoming the rule, rather than the exception.  We might find a willingness to be vulnerable, to, in the words of  Dr. Brene Brown, Dare Greatly.


I’d like to invite you to look for opportunities over the next few weeks to “lead with your heart” at work.  Please get in touch if you’d like to share your experiences.


The Power of Recognition


Yesterday I spent a good deal of my day struggling with an article for this edition of Reflections on the Road to Respect.  I had what I thought was a good idea.  However, as sometimes happens, the more I wrote, the less I progressed.  By about 4 pm I was feeling quite frustrated and discouraged.  The fact that I burned the roof of my mouth a few days ago and have not been able to eat, something I normally quite enjoy doing, did not help my mood any.


Now I don’t know about you, but at times like those it is easy for that demon of doubt and negativity to capture my attention.  Why am I struggling with this?  I don’t feel well and I have so much else to do.  I send these out into cyberspace every month, and while I always get a few comments, at the end of the day does anyone really care?  Would they even know the difference if these monthly reminders of the importance of respect at work stopped coming into their inboxes?


I kid you not, but within 5 minutes my phone rang.  It was a former colleague from my airlines days, a very accomplished professional I have always respected and admired, who I had contacted earlier looking for some information for a client.  He gave me the information I had requested and then asked how things were going.  “Fine” I lied.  Then to my great surprise he said “I read your articles every month. Whenever they come in, my wife always makes sure to let me know.  You obviously put a lot of thought into them.”


I put down the phone elated, completely renewed and inspired.  That small piece of positive feedback; one person that I respect and admire telling me that my work matters to him, was all I needed to reconnect to my purpose and get back to writing.


Last week I was meeting with an HR professional who was asking about ideas for non-monetary recognition.  The company had traditionally given bonuses to recognize performance.  This year, economic times being what they are, they were not in a position to do that.


Being a single parent and sole earner running my own business, I very much understand the importance of financial compensation.  However, study after study has shown that more money does not necessarily mean better performance.  Nor does it build loyalty and allegiance to an organization.


Rather it is the daily practice of recognition – the thank you’s , great job, we couldn’t have gotten here without your input, you are a valued member of this team – that inspire many of us to want to continue making an effort.  Let’s face it, whatever our job, task or profession, we want to know that what we are doing matters.  We all want to know that others appreciate the effort we make.  And unless someone is doing that on a regular basis, chances are we won’t feel valued or appreciated, which often translates to a lack of motivation and the inevitable drop in productivity.


Letting a colleague or team member know that their work matters costs nothing, but can reap great benefits, not only for your workplace relationships but for your organizational bottom line.  It is one simple way to demonstrate respect, to translate that value into action so that it becomes a behavioural norm.


How does your organization recognize good work?


What workplace practices are in place to ensure that employees know

when they are succeeding: that their contribution is making a difference?


How often do they get positive, affirming feedback?


Have they had an opportunity to let you know what meaningful

recognition would look like to them?


Now is the time to start asking these kinds of questions in your workplace.  Every organization should be working to retain and motivate talent.  Why not harness the power of recognition to assist your organization in becoming the respectful workplace great employees love to work in.



"With the first of the baby boomers beginning to retire, businesses are making retaining and recruiting new talent a high priority.  Those that are ready to embrace this challenge will find Erica’s book, Road to Respect invaluable, as it lays the foundations of how to create a positive and efficient work environment that employees will not want to leave.  The best part is, it does not require a lot of financial capital: only the will to embrace the fundamental principles shared in this book."

Kamal Basra,

Sophia Financial Group

Raymond James Ltd.