Is There Room in Your Organization for Expressions of Gratitude?

I couldn’t agree more with Andrew Scharf in his piece entitled, “The Optimism Of Gratitude: Business.” He writes, “In many organizations, focus is given to mistakes or errors made. What this stipulates is that leaders and managers often hone in on what they do not like and drive the errors or mistake into a state culpability.”  As a result, “the firm becomes fixated on problems rather than geared to promoting innovation or out-of-the-box solutions.”

The power of positive acknowledgement in business has been written about from Ken Blanchard’s, The One Minute Manager to the leadership visions of Peter Drucker.   When I was CEO/Chairman of my company with some 1,400 employees, I introduced the concept of “one-on-ones” which provided me the opportunity to meet with individuals two or more reporting levels below me.  I was able to express my gratitude to these people for their specific contributions to the company.

This acknowledgement and personal connection was a real motivator not just because someone was expressing sincere and genuine gratitude but because it came from a level within the organization that was unexpected.  It carried more weight and I believe I got just as much out of the experience as they did.  It was a wonderful way to spend time with the staff and it enriched the level of trust and respect throughout the organization.

When I took my yearlong journey of gratitude that I wrote about in my book, This Is the Moment, I included those people who had influenced my life in and out of business.  I was happy that I did it at this stage even if it was after I had sold the company, but knowing what I know now, I would have made a point to recognize more of my colleagues for their lifetime of influence during the time we worked together.

What practices do you have in place at your organization that promote gratitude and enriches relationships among colleagues and departments?  Please share them with the other readers here in the comments section.  Your idea may be the best thing that could happen to someone else’s organization.

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