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Alice's Restaurant Recognition Program


Alicesrestaurant A brief comment and email exchange with one of this sites readers is the impetus for this post.

The reader works in a company that has been hit by the recent economic buffering and was wondering how to get the company and its leaders to see how hard they are working and the contributions they are making. He said that the undercurrent was "be happy you have a job."


I'm guessing the alarm clock is the worst sound in the world to these folks Monday through Friday. 

So what to do?

Listen To Arlo Guthrie

For those who grew up on Nintendo "Alice's Restaurant Massacree" (commonly referred to simply as "Alice's Restaurant") is Arlo Guthrie's musical monologue based on a true story that began on Thanksgiving Day 1965. 

While written to protest the war in Viet Nam and the military draft – I've usurped a section to illustrate how you, in what ever role you have at your company, can impact your own performance and those around you.

From the song… (sorry for any offense the words may cause – but I'm just the messenger…)

"You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he's really sick and they won't take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony, they may think they're both faggots and they won't take either of them. And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. They may think it's an organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day,I said fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. And friends they may thinks it's a movement."

Begin Your Movement

  • Send emails to your team members who have worked hard or exceeded minimum requirements – copy their boss. Thank them for their work and their effort. Keep at it. Some of your team will see that effort and will start doing the same.
  • Make sure you mention to others that they can really pep someone up if they send a thank you email or note to someone.
  • Send a thank you to your boss – remember – they need validation as much as you do. Sometimes getting a note from someone who works for you jumps starts your efforts around recognition as well.
  • Send a note to a wife/husband/significant other saying thanks for their understanding and their support during tough times – I have done this in the past and the return is immense. Just be sure you know the person well enough to know that you’re not crossing some line
  • Use the growing “recognition” culture (hopefully it will grow from your initial foray) in your staff meetings to highlight the work you and your team are doing.

In other words, you can start the process yourself.
If management won’t recognize the effort you can.

No one ever needed permission to say thank you. Your effort to recognize others will not only energize them – but you as well.

Remember – "You Can Get Anything You Want At Alice's Restaurant"

For those with 18 minutes to spare (sound quality is a bit poor):  (email subscribers may have to click through to see video)

Arlo Guthrie – Alices Restaurant

Woodstock Music and Art Fair | MySpace Music Videos

Originally posted on on Incentive Intelligence

9 Responses to “Alice's Restaurant Recognition Program”

  1. So true! I work in the construction industry (structural consultant) in NV and our economy is way down in the dumps. I especially like the suggestion about emailing team members who have worked hard and copying their boss so their efforts can be recognized publicly. This should certainly go a long way to make the sound of at least one person’s Monday morning alarm clock not quite so bad. Thanks for your thoughts.

  2. Paul Hebert says:

    Thanks for the comment Brett. We do have the power. Remember, life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. React differently – own the recognition and pay it forward! Good luck. Check back and let me know if you tried it and if it worked.

  3. John Cella says:

    The need for recognizing the efforts of people in an organization is the responsibility of each individual person, and in most companies this type of culture starts at the top. Successful and healthy companies today all have one thing in common – the importance they place on recognizing and “thanking” each and everyone’s contribution to the company ongoing!
    This is a very important part of our company’s culture – every Monday morning we have an all-Employee meeting and the first thing we talk about are “Celebrations” from the previous week and recognize and thank those who contributed to our success. We even have a weekly traveling “Culture Club Crown Award” (I know Boy George!) to single out the contributions of an individual who went WAY ABOVE and BEYOND to help a customer or a teammate.
    Good stuff Paul keep it up!

  4. Paul Hebert says:

    I agree it works best from the top down. However, let’s not forget one person can do a lot by starting a movement at the bottom of the chain. It looks like Darren learned something while at CMG eh?
    Glad to hear you’re enjoying the new gig. Thanks for following and thanks for commenting.

  5. Scott Crandall says:

    Paul — Great idea, great post. One thing we can all learn from the Millenials: take charge of yourself. If you don’t like the atmosphere at work, don’t put up with it. Change it. One person at a time. Refuse to participate in the negativity, poor leadership, de-motivation and all the rest. Lead from the bottom, lead from the middle or lead from the top — but lead. It’s not position, it’s disposition. And “maybe they’ll think it’s a movement . . .”

  6. Eric Means says:

    I think it is such a small and frequently forgotten about gesture to thank someone for the job they have done and many people day in and day out could use it. I like the fact that you talked about thanking your boss, because no one really thinks of doing that…. They think about their boss thanking and rewarding them. These simple gestures can go a long way as long as it isn’t used as a reward system with no compensation, then people end up splitting. Everyone wants monetary rewards at some point to bring them to what they’re worth, but to motivate them in the meantime, thank you for good work can help.
    This will help the system and work environment as a whole if it catches on with many co-workers.

  7. Paul Hebert says:

    Thanks for the comment Eric. You’re spot on – recognition alone doesn’t keep people – and compensation alone won’t either. They are like oxygen and water – both are required for us to survive – we can go a little while without either (oxygen a little less long) but both together keep us alive for quite a while.

  8. Paul, it did work, my consultant team member (drafting services) seems to have experienced an increase in job satisfaction and has worked noticeably harder meeting deadlines, etc. Now let’s see what kind of duration the change has and if I can do my part to keep it alive.

  9. Paul Hebert says:

    Thanks for checking back in. Love to hear when someone gets engaged in their work – makes the alarm clock noise just a little bit sweeter.
    Keep it up. It will be interesting to see if your team members starts to recognize other that he/she interacts with!

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