The Currency of the Kingdom…

While I was in Kansas doing a leadership training, I had this thought and wrote on the whiteboard, RECOGNITION. What I realized in that moment was that Recognition is the currency of the Kingdom. Remember the Kingdom is the realm where the Business, Marketplace, and Church, and  Ministries merge. I belive the principle of recognition is universal and transcends cultures, religions and economic boundaries.

Recognition is one of the core needs for all humans. I remember reading an article a couple of months ago. I believe there was a survey done from about 1800 students at Oxford in the U.K. The question was asked, what is one of the most important things on your mind while you are here pursuing your future career and studies. The answer was well in the mid nineties percentile, unanimously; The students’ main concern was to somehow be recognized and acknowledged for their work and contributions. I mean they could have said, money, etc. The main thought on their mind was if they were going to be rewarded and acknowledged for their contributions to society, and or the organization they end up working for.

Recognition according to the online Webster’s Dictionary:
1. To acknowledge something as valid
2. Formal approval or sanctioning as one with authorization
3. To perceive as existing or true
4. To show appreciation of achievement,merit, service as by some reward or public honor

The word Reward is used over 80 times in the bible. Even from the beginning of time with God, He has used the reward (recognition) principle to motivate people. I totally believe it is a part of our DNA to need to be recognized. Abraham, Moses, David and all of those in-between time were seeking the acknowledgement of the effort. Cain actually killed his own brother because of the lack of recognition! In an oversimplified way many are waiting to hear the words, “Well done!” Jesus did not even begin his earthly ministry until he was recognized before all of the people by His Father.

There is so much power in recognition. I don’t think leaders spend enough time realizing the effects that it has on people. I mean monetary reward is costly but not as effective in the long run. Business models use profit-sharing and monetary rewards for engaging personnel to ‘buy in’. This works, but in our new culture and climate it will not be a long-term fix. This generation is way more concerned about making a difference and being different than a monetary reward.

‘Because you’re worth it!’ L’Oreal’s catchphrase taps into the narcissistic zeitgeist. But it also begs the question: Are we at risk of becoming obsessed with feeling good about ourselves? According to new research by Brad Bushman and his co-workers, not only do US college students have higher self-esteem than previous generations, they now value self-esteem boosts more than sex, food, receiving a salary payment, seeing a friend or having an alcoholic drink.

Bushman’s team made their finding by asking dozens of US college students to imagine their favourite food, sexual activity, self-esteem boosting activity (e.g. receiving a compliment, getting a good grade) etc, and in each case to say how much they wanted it and how much they liked it. The key finding was that self-esteem boosting activities came out on top.

Leaders in the non-profit sector do not have the option to give out monetary rewards to recognize people. For a long time all we did was give out titles. I remember in the late 80’s and 90’s most churches were full of ministries, titles, positions. It was almost comical but it fed a need in people’s lives. To get a badge or position, or if you were real important, you would get an office! I am not belittling these things, they are very important and necessary. But as I look back on it, it was a way to meet the needs of the people. When a talented person from church was getting frustrated and quenched, the leadership would hand out new positions to keep them engaged much like a business would give out raises.

The new model in business and hopefully the church is going to be the power of sincere praise and recognition for people and what they bring to the organization. Most Pastor’s in America have a Fort Knox of treasure at their disposal. Remember Recognition is the currency of the Kingdom. It’s the one payment for services rendered that has true lasting value. For the life of me I do not know why leaders don’t spend this currency!

In my times of mentoring and consulting I hear this all the time. The people are just despondent, and going through the motions. I don’t know what to do. This ‘spirit’ of lethargy can be blamed on our selfish culture. But the best way I know how to fix it is to open the bank and start spending the currency of the Kingdom.

I will share some ideas of how to spend this currency wisely, and how others in the marketplace are making a huge impact on their organizations.

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