Last summer I went to see Depeche Mode — not my favourite band, but I completely appreciate their longevity and talent, and firmly believe that "Personal Jesus" is a forever song that will appeal to generations.
At the close of the concert they did an encore, and it got me thinking — do regular folks get called for encores?
My favourite encore story is from the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics. I had been invited to the athletes’ village for a party being hosted by Labatt the night before the men’s hockey gold medal game.
Labatt had flown in The Tragically Hip to play, and it was a great night. And when The Hip left the stage, the crowd cheered and clapped to bring them back for an encore.
Then the most extraordinary thing happened.
The crowd slowly stopped clapping and started to sing "O Canada." Then the band returned and finished the song with us a cappella. It is one of my greatest moments at the Games, greatest moments of being Canadian and the greatest encore I have witnessed.
Have you ever been cheered on and applauded to the point where you had to return — to a job, a room or a moment? You couldn’t ignore it any longer and had to give the crowd what they wanted?
I have been asked back to companies, and recruited, which can be comparable to an encore in certain circumstances. I guess, maybe, but there was no cheering.
What if we gave encores to regular folk? In our workplace? What if we cheered people who did good things or good work? I mean, out loud cheered them, public recognition — standing in your cubicles clapping.
We cheer children to encourage them to continue trying or to try harder. And children cheer us. And that reminds me of my niece, who was about four years old when she vibrated, clapped and raised her arms in victory when my Dad brought out the slide for the play structure.
"Yeah Pa, Yeahhhhhhhh!!!!!" I bet you even smile reading that.
Children seem to be more outward with their emotion — that purity of emotion in the moment is probably another secret of childhood that has escaped us.
Take, for example, when my friend’s five-year-old son asked me, "How old are you?" I said 42 (because I was at the time) and he clapped, like a golf clap for about 20 seconds.
And you know what? I felt special, I smiled and I likely even stood a little taller. When was the last time you felt great telling someone your age?
By nature, I am an introvert and cheering is usually something I avoid, but that doesn’t mean I don’t translate it to mean good things.
I’m not sure if he was clapping because I was 42, like I’d made it in some way, or just because I was 42 and he thought that was good. The end result was the same — if his intention was to make me feel good, he did and I did. So we both won.
And I continue to win, even though I’m 43 now. I remember that moment often and smile when I think about how he just started clapping. He didn’t say anything, he just clapped — and smiled.
So when it comes to managing people and businesses and teams, when was the last time you clapped? And if you can’t remember, that might be a sign of something you need to review. Maybe we should bring back clapping like Ellen DeGeneres brought back dancing?
If you don’t reward good behaviour, you might find a lack of it on your team. It’s imperative to how your team interrelates and builds respect.
If you cheer, cheer publicly so that they will cheer each other and potentially cheer you. I’ll leave it up to you on how you cheer, clap or congratulate.
North American employee engagement surveys show high percentages of people want, need and desire recognition. It also shows their preferred reward and recognition is rarely monetary.
How will you or how do you show your team that you want them to come back and do it again? How do you encourage them to try new things? How do you instil the desire to do better?
And if you feel stumped on how to give an encore, remember it can be whatever the situation calls for it to be — the a cappella version of "O Canada," my vibrating niece or my friend’s little guy who within 20 seconds communicated ‘good’ to me and instantly took away any apprehension of telling him my age and increased my desire to answer any of his questions.
And then sit and ponder what else we can learn from a five-year-old.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 26, 2014