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Thank you for saying thank you

Published on 11 September 2017
Reading Progressive Dairyman

This past summer our staff was so impressed with the many photos and messages sent to our office. You took your magazines with you in your camper to the woods or in your boat on the lake. The main message you sent was: Sometimes you must get away to catch up.

We enjoy seeing photos and videos of open magazines in your hands. We appreciate you find the content in Progressive Dairyman is can’t-miss quality.



I recently discovered why we enjoy hearing from you so much and why it compels us to do more.

In his book Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations, Dan Ariely describes what humans crave even more than money and power is meaningful recognition. His own research at Duke University uncovered this principle.

For example, Ariely and his research colleagues printed random letters on an entire sheet of paper and invited research participants to find given pairs of letters on the page. Participants would turn in their paper after locating all the pairs to a proctor and be paid 55 cents for the activity. They would then be offered to do a new page for 5 cents less. Each time they completed the activity, the payment incentive for the next page decreased by 5 cents.

Beyond the monetary incentive participants were offered, Ariely provided feedback to the participants in three different ways. The first group of participants were told to put their name on the paper at the start of the exercise and were “acknowledged” upon completing each exercise, with the proctor reviewing their paper and saying, “uh-huh.”

The second group were not instructed nor permitted to put their name on the paper at the start of the exercise and were “ignored” upon completing each exercise, with the proctor not reviewing the participant’s work and placing it immediately face down in a pile.


Those in the final group were also not permitted to use their names, and their work was not reviewed, but their paper was shredded right in front of them immediately upon presentation to the proctor. Ariely called them the “shredded” group.

What Ariely says is most interesting about the findings is that there wasn’t much difference between the motivation and persistence of those in the ignored and those in the shredded groups. Those in the shredded group stopped working, on average, when the pay fell below 29 cents.

Those in the ignored group stopped, on average, when pay fell below 27.5 cents. However, those that received acknowledgement kept working significantly longer and stopped, on average, when the pay was less than 15 cents per page (25 percent longer than the other groups).

Your photos posted to Facebook, Twitter or emailed directly to an editor “acknowledge” and motivate. So thank you for the recognition, but even more so, thank you for boosting morale.

You should consider showering your own staff with similar appreciation if you don’t already. Catch people doing the right thing, say a simple thank you and see what it does for your team’s confidence over time.  end mark

PHOTO: Love to read Progressive Dairyman. Photo provided by Kris Scheider, De Pere, Wisconsin.


Walt Cooley
  • Walt Cooley

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