Acknowledgment: This blog is written from a skype interview that Rituu B. Nanda conducted on the Author

Both the words Acknowledgment and Recognition, appear at the first sight to be the same. However, there is a small difference. Acknowledgment, we use, as when I am writing a book, I say, I acknowledge R's work in editing, rewriting, and so on. Here the main work is mine, and I acknowledge the inputs of another person called R, who is helping my work.

Whereas for Recognition, the main work is done by the person I am appreciating. Consider the example, “I recognize R for her excellent culinary skills. My appreciation is so much; I would do anything to be invited to a meal she has done!”

The question that arises in the context of a community is, who is the giver and who is the receiver? Again if we take the example of giving an award to R, the community is all the others who are her co-workers and who could also have competed for the given award.

When we give Awards as a token of acknowledgment and Recognition to Community Leaders, Peer Educators and others who have worked singularly well, and earned their Community's recognition, it works mainly in three ways. They are:

1) Effect on Receiver: "As one lamp lights another nor grows less, So does nobleness en-kindle nobleness." Similarly, Awards and Recognition motivate the receiver to work for greater heights of achievement. The consequent effect could be like in the flowchart:

Recognition ---> increased Motivation ----> Better performance ---> Enthuses other Peers to perform better ----> Increased Peer Recognition ----> Higher self esteem -----> More confident in approach ----> Higher achievement ------> Better performance of self and team...

2) Effect on Giver: Like Shakespeare said of the quality of mercy, we can say the same for Award and Recognition, namely, "It is twice blest: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes." I will delve into my past to highlight this point better. Some time ago, I was in the medical services of a large Tea growing Company. Here we often had to judge in our Hospital, which was the best ward, who was the best nurse, best doctor, best ward boy and so on. Then, I remember, the tougher job was for the one who gives, for he has to make a good judgment, which can be difficult if there are many achievers. In addition, if the community is a close one, the giver can always be accused of bias. Moreover, many of us have also done performance appraisals, where as the appraiser it has been a soul-searching experience to walk the tightrope of judgment. The Effect Flowchart could be:

Giver Excercises good judgement ----> The practice of good work ethics ----> Increases Confidence in decision making ------> Gives more credibility to Giver's authority ------> earns more respect ------> Colleagues and friends tend to trust the Giver and often ask advice -----> Team gels well ----> Team works better ----> High performance of team...

3) Effect on Community: When we recognize some good qualities of a person and publicly broadcast it, we learn ways of making others happy. Consequently, my experience has been that the happier people are, they are more motivated, more creative, more wanting to bond and trust. The emphasis is on the "trust" part which is so much required for building successful and working communities Therefore, the most important effect of recognition is that it builds trust, which is the steel in the concrete relationships within a Community. The Flow chart for this effect could be:

Community feels that good work is recognized ----> Others who have better talents or better ideas on the same work feel that they will also be similarly rewarded -------> Better strategies become known and are tried out ----> Better ideas and plans get better prospects and performance -----> Better ideas also get recognition ----> which increases credibility and trust too.

The Action Points could be:
1) Giver of Awards or Recognition - must be correct in judgment, explicit for what the award is given, and also if some one is expecting and not eligible, can be told how close they were to getting the award, and what made them loose out. So, Giver - must be able to infuse trust by correct judgment, an unbiased approach, high credibility, and thus increase team or community performance.
2) Receiver - can highlight how he found out the strategy or plan for which he was recognized, succes story mostly. May have lessons learnt, if failures were overcome.
3) Community - must focus on transfer of strategy from receiver to implementing by all - for this trust in the giver must be there.


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Comment by Geoff Parcell on August 17, 2009 at 3:43pm
Hi Rafique

I read these words differently. In the context of the issue of AIDS do I acknowledge it is an issue for me, for my family and for my neighbourhood? Do I recognise the issue and publicly acknowledge it?

The turning point for me was during my secondment to UNAIDS, when I was sharing what I knew about knowledge management and I was learning lots about what communities were facing and dealing with as the HIV virus spread. I had gone back for a few days to my home in middle class England and met good friends for dinner at their home. There were four couples and they were interested and intrigued by what I was doing with UNAIDS. We talked a lot about sexual behaviour that night, and about our children and the lack of conversations we had had with them. It was not our normal dinner party conversation. By the end of the evening we were forced to acknowledge it did affect us all; we did recognise that we needed to act.

Let me ask you, do you have a moment when you acknowledged that AIDS is an issue for you and your family, or your neighbourhood, or perhaps when you made SALT visits in Thailand what did you observe about acknowledgement?

Comment by VANDANA MAHAJAN on August 15, 2009 at 9:49pm
Dear Rafique,
It is a nice piece in which you have dwelt on many interweaving aspects of social communication.. the emotions, the feelings, the rationality and the strategy ....
Giving and receiving is a positive emotion, providing satisfaction and contentment . .


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