He Forgot How Much He Mattered


Their faces dropped when Doug walked past the cash registers, around the corner, and out of sight. He carried a breakfast sandwich in his right hand. Moments before he’d said to me, “Look at this.”

We were having coffee and chatting in one of his franchise restaurants. My heart sank. It looked fine to me, but Doug has high standards.

I find Doug affirming and kind. But, I’ve also seen him frustrated when something isn’t right. He doesn’t hesitate to tell you what he thinks, either way.

A wave of distressed looks followed him as he walked to the back. It didn’t matter that he was smiling. Employees literally turned to watch. Then, quickly, they returned to their jobs, still worried, wondering who was going to “get” it. But, they hadn’t heard what I heard.

“Look at this,” had been followed with, “It’s perfect.” My worry turned to relief. But, the kitchen crew hadn’t heard anything. All they saw was the owner, holding a sandwich, walking to the kitchen.

Later, while Doug ate the sandwich, I asked, “What do you think happened when you walked to the back carrying that sandwich?” Instantly, he knew.


Appreciation is telling someone they’re doing a good job. Recognition includes letting others know the same thing.

Doug realized that he could have stopped at the front counter, showed them the sandwich, and said, “Look at this. It’s perfect.” Then continuing to the back, he could have giving the face to face appreciation he loves dispensing.

Doug turned, as we headed out the door, and said, “Great seeing you Dan. Have a good day. I’ve got to talk with our crew.”

Recognition is telling others
about the good someone else has done.

What are some useful recognition strategies or systems?

What are the dangers of giving recognition?