Thought Leadership Blog

The HRS Thought Leadership Blog delivers validated findings, visionary perspectives and op/ed commentaries related to HR, Leadership, Organizational Development and Employment Law. To enjoy the full volume of available articles, please enter topic keywords in the search box to explore our body of work. Articles are regularly presented by the HRS team and guest experts.

Catch Someone Doing Something Right!

An essential tool of leadership and motivation is to “catch someone doing something right.”  This single key principle allows us to achieve better results with corrective action and allows people their greatest level of hope, inspiration, buy-in and accomplishment.  While intrinsic motivation begins in childhood and can be difficult to change, extrinsic motivation is among the most volatile of variables in people.


So, why do we offer the exact opposite to our country in the face of economic crisis and election of new leadership?  Why do we allow negative campaigning that destroys hope and motivation, which in turn adversely impacts economic prosperity?  Why at the most visible and widespread level do we allow the opposite of desirable behavior?


Election propaganda, stereotyping and irresponsible journalism need to be called out and controlled.  Let’s catch our candidates doing something right.  Let’s catch our business leaders doing something right.  Let’s catch “Joe Six-Pack” doing something right.  “Joe Six-Pack”… really? Do we think calling our average American a lazy beer guzzling non-intellectual is upholding the right standard?  Joe should step away from the six-pack and produce some results.  Economic prosperity should be earned.  Results are to be rewarded and effort to be applauded.


Kindness, integrity, pride in a strong work ethic and the golden rule can go along away.  At the end of the day, how you feel when your head hits the pillow can be an indicator of personal success.  Hope creates success. Generation Y is mixed with regard to work ethic, partially because they’ve been raised with too much tragedy and negativity in their living room.  Some respond with conviction to overcome, while others are de-motivated by lack of hope. We de-motivate when we place bad news on page 1 and good news on page 36.  The media should get that.  Our political campaigners should get that. 


Let’s catch someone doing something right every day and make an example of that!  Let’s think things through before we automatically tear them down.  Let’s avoid dangerous stereotypes and look for positive exceptions.  Let’s stop creating fear of US businesses as a whole because of the greedy unethical actions of a few.  What I’m looking for in a candidate and political party is integrity and the ability to inspire.  Inspiration will have a positive impact on our economy.

Why should our country’s leadership be exempt from the rules of appropriate corporate leadership?  We call out inappropriate corporate leadership but we don’t enough call out inappropriate campaigning and inappropriate media behavior.  Both political parties talk of change, but I’m watching them use the same political tactics already.  Let’s enforce the standard to “catch someone doing something right!”


Jessica Ollenburg - Saturday, October 11, 2008