grat·i·tude: ɡradəˌt(y)o͞od/ noun
1. The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
Is there ever enough time for gratitude? Owners and executive leaders wrestle with this every day of their lives as most time is spent solving and dealing with other people’s crises and problems, putting bandages on last minute surprises, supporting other people’s needs and wants, and prioritizing a lengthy checklist of “Have-To Do’s” (not to mention the “Honey-Do’s”).
What is a person to do? It’s not that we aren’t grateful for the help we get from our team and it’s not that we aren’t grateful for our customers. It’s just that there isn’t enough time to plan for gratitude. For most, best intentions have us giving out a thank you card with a gift certificate around the holidays. And if we’re really on the ball, it might mean scheduling a holiday dinner with our key managers.
What if we thought about giving thanks from a different perspective? What if gratitude was a part of our culture…a part of our working DNA?
“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy and change ordinary opportunities into blessings” – William Arthur Ward
Perhaps we change our messaging. If people are our most valuable asset, then why are we treating them like an expense and a liability? Bottom Line: the right people, the right customers, the right vendors are the ones who drive our growth and sustain that growth. What drives them to grow our businesses?
- “I like to work!” is not an anomaly. When individuals on your team feel appreciated for a job well done, they will continue to perform again and again for you. Most employees want to do a good job, but if their projects go unnoticed, or if someone else claims ownership for the success of their hard work, how long before they stop trying when you ask them to perform?
- “Back at you!” – When customers feel appreciated, they appreciate back. It opens up the line of communication to more honest conversations, which in turn builds trust, which in turn creates that loyal collaborative relationship.
- “Enjoy giving extra customized service” – we aren’t the only ones initiating it or being noticed for it … our vendors and suppliers are too. If you have to demand this behavior from your vendors, something is wrong.
It’s easy to get caught up with all that goes wrong at work, especially if you have a need to control the outcome of everything that happens in a day. Showing gratitude is about mental and emotional readiness. It is a personal quality, a trait that surpasses business acumen and goes to the heart of being intentional. What is the cost to the bottom line if you forget to express your gratitude toward others who are helping to grow your business?
“Although thanks is a rather simple one-syllable word that too often is used without true feeling, when used with sincerity, no collection of words can be more meaningful or expressive.” – John Wooden
What is it that you can do or say every day, at the time that you become aware that someone helped move the business just an inch forward due to their actions? Building good will and increasing the value of your company starts with the realization that it’s not all about you, or the lack of time you have, or what you “own”. It’s accepting the fact that others are helping us build that value and they, too, have ownership for an outcome. It’s the little things we do every day that builds value like giving appreciation immediately when you notice the efforts of others. Culture-ize that attitude, that behavior and you will have a gold mine.
Author Terri Wilcox is co-founder of Resultants For Business, an experienced Business Advisor and an organizational strategist and certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). Connect with her and other RFB® Business Development Advisors here, or on LinkedIn.