Monday, November 26, 2007

A Post-Thanksgiving Day Principle

A day after we sat around our Thanksgiving table, each family member saying what he/she was thankful for, I started thinking about the entire issue of gratitude and what an important role it plays in business, leadership and building successful communications programs. Each involves motivating action, which cannot be successfully achieved without an expression of gratitude.

As Cicero so aptly put it, "gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others." It makes all the others work more effectively. At bottom, every member of every team wants to be appreciated for his or her contribution. It is a two-sided emotion: both the giver and recipient feel good. It is an essential comment on the value given and the value received. Generally, when we know we have produced value, we want to give more; naturally, the recipient traditionally wants more as well.

Thus, appreciation stimulates teamwork, productivity and revenue. It not only motivates action among teams but among customers as well. For example, a recent study found that customers of a jewelry store who were called and thanked showed a subsequent 70% increase in purchases. In comparison, customers who were thanked and told about a sale showed only a 30% increase in purchases, and customers who were not called at all did not show an increase. Another study found that restaurant patrons gave bigger tips when their servers wrote "Thank you" on their checks.

It is easy for managers and leaders in any position to add a "thank you" on to any request to a colleague or subordinate, or afterwards for a deed either might have done. It creates a positive emotion. Another study shows that people who tend to experience gratitude more frequently than do others also tend to be happier, more helpful and forgiving and less depressed than their less grateful counterparts.

It is amazing what two little words can do.

Technorati Tags: Gratitude,Thanksgiving, Cicero, Thank You, Appreciation,
business, communications, public relations


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