12 Days of Startup Advice: Day Eight — Awesome Cards
Everything is awesome when you're part of a team.

Anyone that has ever worked for Starbucks (three of four of us Kick Pointers) will recognize our “Awesome” cards as a Green Apron card in disguise. And yeah, I’m proud to say — that’s a tradition that I totally carried over from my Starbucks days.

I could go on for days about the important lessons I learned at Starbucks. Lessons about business and lessons about life. But I’ll keep it brief. One of the things that I love the most about how Starbucks operates is that they’re big fans of catching people doing the right things. Customers or partners — we were always encouraged to find someone doing something well and praise them for it.

Warm and fuzzy inside
Warm and fuzzy inside

But rather than just making a fleeting, “That was great!” comment that would soon be forgotten, you were encouraged to grab a Green Apron Card (a business card sized piece of paper) and be specific about what it was that the person did to catch your attention.

I worked at Starbucks for 6 years, and I still have a few Green Apron cards floating around my house. That’s how meaningful they are to me.

It’s pretty rare to receive handwritten notes these days, especially rare to receive one about something you did that was praise-worthy. As such, people tend to hang on to these pieces of paper. They re-read them. They do said “thing” over and over. It’s a win-win really. Positive affirmations and reinforcement.

It’s pretty rare to receive handwritten notes these days, especially rare to receive one about something you did that was praise-worthy. As such, people tend to hang on to these pieces of paper. They re-read them. They do said “thing” over and over. It’s a win-win really. Positive affirmations and reinforcement.

You want more of that behaviour? Write about it.

It works.

And it’s easy. Print business cards? You’re already half way there. Throw your company logo on the back, and leave one side blank. VOILA! Awesome cards. (download this PDF to get started!) The only rules for writing an awesome card: be timely and be specific.

No, “Hey — that thing you did five weeks ago? It was great.” Chances are if you wait that long, you’ll forget the rad thing that the person did. So will they.

And you don’t want that! Why? Because, if you talk up a person for doing brilliant things, guess what? They’ll continue to do them.

It’s simple — head-shakingly simple, but it works. These little cards can help your business create a positive atmosphere where people feel excited to come to work. And at the end of the day, people stay where they feel appreciated.

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