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If you were given the ‘secret sauce’ – one thing to do right now to drive growth in your business… would you do it? Is growth a goal for you? Is it just an idea, or is it core to your existence? Does it excite you?

Here is the irony – I get asked weekly, if not daily, by people from all walks of our business community – “How do I drive growth?” And I do have a very pragmatic approach.

I know what has worked for RedBalloon – but often people don’t really like the answer. They often look at me as if to say, “Surely it can’t be that straightforward?” My ‘secret sauce’ is a never ever give up approach to noticing the contribution of each individual.

Ram Charan said “The motto of successful CEO’s is People First – Strategy Second”.

We have heard it over and over again – it is people who innovate, drive growth and deliver the customer experience. Business is always about people. And when people are acknowledged they feel great, you feel great and they are far more likely to give you their valuable discretionary effort.

For years business has been tweaking every lever it can – six sigma, the lean approach, measuring everything, cutting expenditure everywhere. The real question is, “What have I got left to improve?”

Maximising your peoples’ positive experience of work and therefore their productivity can be as simple as a having a formal recognition program. Our research tells us that only around 30 per cent of Australian businesses have any form of formal recognition in place.

The simple act of consistent, authentic recognition is the most likely thing to give any business the next wave of growth.

According to a US Society for Human Resources Management and Globoforce survey results, companies who follow three key recognition practices are seeing better metrics across the board.

By tying recognition back to company values, making it peer-to-peer, and investing a percentage of payroll, companies see uplift in metrics such as retention, engagement and even financial results. In this report, you’ll discover how:

  • Companies using strategic recognition are 48 per cent more likely to report high engagement
  • Companies with peer-to-peer recognition are 35 per cent more likely to report lower turnover
  • Companies spending only 1 per cent of payroll on recognition are 79 per cent more likely to see better financial results.

This will require focus, energy and persistent to get the returns reported – but I can attest to the fact that it is absolutely possible – and worth the investment.

Reader Interactions


  1. Great post, love the graphic!

    I’ve recently enjoyed reading through Stephen Covey’s book ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ (the audio book is quite good). Whilst it might seem outdated or unfashionable now, the content is so apt for the challenges of modern business.

    Your post reminded me of Stephen’s comment about the difference between efficiency and effectiveness – it’s worthwhile to be efficient with things (machines, materials, objects), it’s rarely worthwhile trying to be efficient with people. Good food for thought!

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