No. This award isn't a "WOW," so it is not right.

The First WOW Day

After studying Dr. Bob Nelson’s work on employee recognition, we learned that we could create a useful and effective employee recognition program with a small budget. So in an effort to “practice what we preach,” we initiated our first employee recognition program event.

Ideally, we wanted this event to be a day of recognition where we honored employees for exemplifying our company values. We named the event WOW Day to reflect our brand Home of “The WOW Effect”® and because we wanted our employees to feel “The WOW Effect”™ for themselves.

Our first WOW Day in 2005 honored a group of amazing employees for doing their work in a way that could Turn Emotions Into Memories™ and make others say “WOW!”

We were newbies in terms of building a culture and using recognition. So there were certainly moments of awkward silence and fumbling words. But each winner truly deserved their award, and I was so happy to recognize them.

One employee specifically comes to mind: Sharon. Sharon was a very quiet, petite lady who worked in our production area. She handled the tasks that come near the end of our production process – she was our quality control person. She basically created this role for herself. No manager ever told her, “Sharon, I need you to be in charge of quality control.”

When she found out that our goal was to make crystal awards that made people say “WOW” upon receiving them, Sharon took it to heart. This mission instantly connected with her. From that day on, she started asking herself, “Would this award make me say ‘WOW’ if I received it?” If the answer was no, she insisted the award be fixed or re-done.

In the early days, Sharon heard a lot of huffing sighs when she sent awards back for correction. Her co-workers were irritated when they were asked to reassess the detail of their work. Sometimes, her manager would even tell her that an award was fine and could be passed onto shipping. She’d straighten up her spine, look him right in the eye and say, “No. This award is not a ‘WOW,’ so it is not right.” Voices often rIt is the people within an organization that give the company life and breath.ose above the hum produced by the surrounding machinery as they worked out their disputes.

I remember one instance in particular where the production manager came to me to make a final decision. He said, “You need to tell me if this award can go out.” I knew in an instant that Sharon was right; the award needed more work before it could be sent out. It had an air bubble right below the logo. From that point on, Sharon had the final say-so on quality control.

At our first WOW Day, Sharon won two awards – one for Quality and the other for Passion. She just “got” Crystal D. Sharon received the Quality Award for her attention to detail. She received the Passion award for her willingness to fight for “The WOW Effect”™.

Sharon went on to win many other awards with our company. Excellence, determination, and quality describe her perfectly.

People like Sharon give flesh to the bones of Crystal D.  Each story starts with a person. It is the people within Crystal D that give the company life. I look forward to sharing more stories like this with you.

We’ve come a long way since the first WOW Day in 2005. But my next hurdle was how to keep that momentum going.

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