Mastering the Art of Recognition: Leap Frog Compliments Show Appreciation

By The Greatness Magnified Team

Sneak peek at 1 of 4 exercises in our 2025 The FROG Effect Workbook Volume 2! Check out all four in the month of July.

What does it look like when teams truly absorb a recognition culture? What do teams do when they gamify appreciation? How do they leverage the currency of connection to ensure team meetings start off right, orientations are more engaging, and training is more dynamic? Here’s an example from one of our clients who truly epitomizes recognition. 

FROG Central With the Special Needs Resources Team

image of the Community Living Hamilton logoSince 2020, I’ve had the privilege of serving Community Living Hamilton, engaging in a range of delicious culture projects, leadership development and staff events. From shifting from in-person events to a range of innovative solutions, from asynchronous virtual micro-learning leadership development to recognition events in parks to reinventing leader recruitment, they have been full-on committed to leveraging F.R.O.G. – Forever Recognize Others’ Greatness ™ and recognition as a way to appreciate, grow, and celebrate their amazing folks.

One group in particular has taken FROG and run with it, so much so that they are teachers to me! The Special Needs Resources Team (SNR) is filled with highly skilled staff of mainly Inclusion Facilitators and Resource Consultants who work directly with childcare centres to support the inclusion of children in the classroom, help transition students from childcare to schools, and are able to make referrals for children with special needs to have the supports they require to thrive.

So, based on that description, how glad are you to know that they have embraced the spirit of forever recognizing others’ greatness

Let me tell you about their latest adventure into FROGing, and then we’ll share exactly how to do it. This is how you know you’re truly living the spirit of FROG when you find opportunities to practice it all around you and are compelled to capitalize on those opportunities.

How FROG Starts…Karen’s Delicious Email 

Karen Pavao, the senior manager of the SNR team, shared this delicious message: 

image of a bag of Haribo Mini Marshmallow FrogsSooo…we found ourselves with a rare afternoon when childcare centres were closed, and we could plan PD for all our staff. As part of the afternoon, Sarah Pennington said we should FROG. She was right! Everyone was seated at round tables and each table got a bowl and one of those plastic skip frogs (you push on one end and try to get it in the bowl). Each person also had a paper frog which they had to recognize someone’s greatness in writing. If they landed the frog in the bowl, they read their recognition frog(s) to the group – then we decided to put them on display in the office!

In addition, everyone got green gummy frogs for a snack! Since then, I found rainbow frogs. You know us, we are all about inclusion and what could be better than a rainbow frog to symbolize inclusion greatness!!

Are you curious about what this looks like in practice? Well, we’re glad you asked. We’ve taken the liberty of writing this up as an exercise.

Leap FROG Compliments

This exercise is great because it:

  • Is playful, fun and light
  • Allows you to use the FROG Tribute compliment card deck in a new way
  • Works well with groups like childcare, educators, and creative professionals
  • You can display the compliments later on a kudos board

Materials:

  •  image of FROG tribute cardsRound tables
  • Bowl per table
  • Plastic leapfrog toys (the ones where you push the end and they “jump”)
  • A deck of FROG Tribute compliment cards
  • If the deck of FROG Tributes is not available, provide cutout frogs or post its
  • Fine-tipped Sharpie markers

Instructions:

  1. Set up round tables with a bowl in the center, FROG Tribute compliment cards and leapfrog toys scattered around the table.
  2. Have everyone grab a leapfrog toy, and on the count of 3, everyone launches their frog. Anyone who’s frog landed in the bowl takes turns reading their compliment. 
  3. When the compliment has been read, compliments are passed to that person.
  4. Continue until all compliments on the table have been read and everyone has received at least one.
  5. You can put the cards back in the deck, have everyone keep theirs or post them on a kudos board. If you’re posting them, have people ensure their name is written on the compliment card.
  6. Optional: Some of our clients like to end with a “celebration” by sharing some frog-themed candy. It’s amazing how many frog-themed treats there are and how many can be ordered!

Debriefing Questions:

  • What did you notice about the energy of the group before, during and now? 
  • Did anyone get a compliment that surprised them? What was that like?
  • Did anyone get a compliment that affirmed what they worked hard to emulate? What is essential about that compliment for you?
  • What do you notice about the variety of compliments and attributes in the group?

Adaptations and Alternatives:

  • SNR used frog cutouts and wrote specific compliments for one or more people. They wanted the greatness to be in writing. Then, they displayed the frog cutouts on a kudos board they already had in their office. What a great way to refresh the kudos board! 
  • In addition to reading the compliment, also invite each person to share a specific example of when they saw the individual that they’re giving the compliment to demonstrate it.
  • If you don’t have leapfrog toys, you could look up how to fold these same leapfrogs using origami. You could teach people to do them, and everyone creates their own (that might be some fun laughs!) Or, if your group isn’t too big and you like origami, you could fold them in advance. 

How You Can Hardwire Recognition Into Your Team 

We often get variations of this question: How else can I weave recognition into my team? We have heard you, and we’re here to help! 

Not only is this just the first of four brand new exercises—not even off the presses yet—but only you receiving this newsletter have access to them!

This is part of two very exciting developments we’re excited to tell you about:

  1. The start of a second volume of The FROG Effect Workbook
  2. The launch of the long-awaited FROG Certification 

Folks who have my original co-authored FROG Effect Workbook have told me the pages are dog-eared, notes fill the margins, and pages have a rainbow of highlighter marks (one even said she has sauce splashes like it’s a cookbook—I love that so much!) For all of you die-hard FROGsters, we hope you’re super excited to hear that you’ll have a whole new world of recognition exercises to explore and enjoy!

We know you are the expert! Want to join us in the creation of the second edition? We welcome you to contribute your stories or examples. Take a few minutes to share your insights here. And, of course, we cannot wait to give you credit in the workbook!

July is the Month of Recognition Rejuvenation!

Come back each week to hear stories of how fellow recognition rockstars and our clients have inspired us by applying recognition in meaningful ways. Let us teach you the how-tos of their magical methods. You will have four shiny new exercises laid out in the exact how-to approach we follow in our workbook. 

Want to be the first to know about the release of the next FROG Effect Workbook and enter to win an autographed copy? Complete this survey!

QR code to the FROG Certification Survey

Here are even more FROG resources for you to snack on:

Disclaimer/Humble Brag Moment: 100% of this content was human-generated (by us folks here at Greatness Magnified). We are committed to authorship integrity and will inform you what percent, if any, is AI-generated.

“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”

– Mother Teresa

Deb Rakonjac

Organizational Development, Purolator Inc.

"Sarah nailed it!  She worked with the planning group to learn about the organization, the audience, the desired key messages and integrated it seamlessly into her keynote. Her energy was contagious! We received rave reviews of this portion of our event and Sarah was able to speak to all members of our organization in a way that motivated them to recognize others everyday. Our executives were extraordinarily pleased and integrated FROGging into their recent board meeting. Purolator is grateful to Sarah for dropping the pebble and we continue to see the ripples from this session across the organization. Working with Tami was phenomenal and the supports were easy to integrate to ensure the session went well. Thanks to you both!!"
Douglas D Swift

President & CEO, Swiftco Inc.

"I have had the Sarah experience in numerous settings: As a keynote, around a table with several other business owners, one on one over coffee, chatting with others at a conference reception, dining with a small group of colleagues. No matter the setting you always get the same Sarah: engaging, attentive, interested, inspiring, motivational, genuine. And always with an infectious smile. Do yourself, your company, your association a favour. Get the Greatness Magnified (Sarah) experience. The payback is priceless."
Judy Kucharuk

Director, Marketing and Special Events, Encana Events Centre

"Funny, full of energy and incredibly motivating – all words to use when describing Sarah and her passionate stage presence. We were fortunate to have Sarah join us as a speaker for Spark Women’s Leadership Conferences and her presentations about leveraging greatness hit the core of our objective at SPARK: “A rising tide lifts all boats”. I would not hesitate to recommend Sarah to other organizations that are searching for a well-prepared, well-organized, thoughtful and passionate storyteller."
Shelley VanVeen

Learning & Development Manager, Libro Credit Union

"Sarah brought so much energy and enthusiasm to our International Women’s Day event at Libro! Her message was uplifting, thought-provoking and truly appreciated by our team. Dealing with Sarah was wonderful – she was open, professional and willing to work with us to customize her message to incorporate our culture and connect to our topic and participants. During the session, she was a pro with a powerful message and a fantastic delivery. We had wonderful feedback from all that attended and can’t wait to have Sarah back for another session in the future!"
Sylvia D’Intino

Executive Director, Community Living Hamilton

"THANK YOU so very much for leading the engagement activities today! You’re a constant professional, with an amazing attitude and always seeing the great in everyone. I am grateful for how you have helped us this year to transform our in-person staff recognition events into virtual and on-location events. Our staff feel more inspired, appreciated and motivated after they hear you speak, and I know our amazing in-house team here looks forward to designing engaging appreciation events with your support."
Melissa Chaulk

Manager of Professional Development

Canadian Dental Hygienists Association

"We work hard at CDHA to give our members a wonderful conference experience, so we were thrilled to have received resoundingly positive feedback on Sarah's opening plenary keynote. It was the highest attended of the entire conference for both dates!"
Jamie Campbell

Director, The Center for People in Organizational Development, Sheridan College

"Smart, challenging, innovative, committed, dependable, and reliable, I highly recommend her for all your recognition needs. I have brought Sarah into my last two organizations to help build a culture of recognition and celebration. The focus on appreciation is more important now than ever."

Some of the Great Organizations We Serve