As I sat down to write this blog and contemplated relevant subject matter, it was very close to Thanksgiving here in the US. So, the subject of gratitude was top of mind. I have been blessed both in business and in my personal life – I really am a pretty lucky guy.
I may not say it enough, so, Thank You.
Yes, I’m thanking You. If you are reading this blog, then you’ve likely contributed in some way to the success of Idea Planet. Without a doubt, Mike Ableman, my revered partner in this crazy business, has made a huge impact. But looking further, perhaps you’re a valued client who’s given us the opportunity to create a Bad Ass collectible or some remarkable Kids and Family experiences. Or maybe you’ve shared your talents as an Idea Planet employee.
You may even be one of our esteemed supply partners on whom we rely to get the job done. Or, you might just be my mom, simply giving this blog some maternal love. Seriously, we wouldn’t be here today, in this position, without each and every one of you. So, again, you have my heartfelt gratitude.
As a business owner and partner, I also truly appreciate our team,
both here and in China. As Idea Planet has grown, it’s become obvious I can’t run the show on my own. I trust others to design, problem solve, create budgets, keep schedules, pay bills, check quality, ensure accurate communications, ship product, etc. And I trust they not just “do” their job, but they do it well, with pride and integrity.
I value our staff and appreciate their contributions, both individually and collaboratively. Truly remarkable to see the magic happen!
I also think it’s pretty great that several of our clients are big believers in a culture of gratitude. Southwest Airlines (Forbes America’s #13 Best Employer of 2018), Chick-fil-A, Sony, Ubisoft, 2K and Sega are prime examples. They are a joy to work with, and you can immediately sense their shared empathy and value for their co-workers.
David Salyers, former head of marketing at Chick-fil-A, shared with me a very simple, but profound insight – mutual respect, appreciation, and adding value to each other without expectation deliver extraordinary results for all.
Interestingly, it turns out there’s some science behind gratitude in the workplace. Research indicates some very beneficial outcomes of a culture of gratitude:
• More productive employees
• Greater job satisfaction
• Greater sense of citizenship, kindness & a pay-it-forward mentality
• Improved employee health
Those are some pretty powerful deliverables from two simple words. Hearing “thank you” from a supervisor gives people a strong sense of both self-worth and self-efficacy. And employees who feel valued and appreciated typically are more motivated to work harder and do more than you expect.
Recognition for a job well done actually increases job satisfaction. But, best of all, it’s contagious! The more gracious and appreciative someone is to others, the more likely the recipients are to mirror those positive behaviors to other co-workers. Sort of like the “wave” at a baseball game. Everyone gets into it! What an easy request – be kind to others and pay it forward.
But what I love most is that practicing gratitude on a daily basis can improve your health. Let me repeat that: improve your health. No magic pill required! A Portland State University study on gratitude in the workplace indicated that a thankful culture can reduce the effects of heart disease, strengthen the immune system and improve sleep quality.
Psychologist Robert Emmons writes, “There is scientific evidence that grateful people are more resilient to stress, whether minor everyday hassles or major personal upheavals.” Not only does heartfelt appreciation mitigate stress and tension in the office, but it also can mean fewer sick days. As a lucky, bonus extra, it reduces impatience and improves focus, which often leads to better decision-making. An all-around win.
I think I speak for all of us when I say that we each want a work environment where we can own our responsibilities with ease and confidence and take on our challenges with a calm, controlled, observant outlook. A mindful approach can help us get there – where we look for the positive and recognize the value of others. We are a collaborative organization that depends on each other for the greater good of our business. And a culture of gratitude leads to deeper connections to each other and to our work.
Gratitude researchers, Emmons and Stern, define this attitude of gratitude (I love rhymes!) as:
“…systematically paying attention to what is going right in one’s life to see the contributions that others make in these good things and then expressing gratitude verbally and behaviorally.”
One call-out here. It may be obvious, but your gratitude has to be sincere. Not, no pun intended, gratuitous. Employees, clients, friends and family can see right through that. It’s important that you recognize the intentions and efforts of the individual you’re thanking. Authentic appreciation should include specifics about the situation, which indicates you are paying attention rather than just going through the motions. Steve Foran, founder of the program, Gratitude at Work, sums it right up: “You have to genuinely want the
best for your people.”
Yes, salaries are important, but people don’t just work for money. We also work for respect, for a sense of accomplishment, and for a feeling of purpose. We invest ourselves and our emotions into our jobs, and work affects our emotional states. So, a heartfelt thank-you, when warranted, can genuinely magnify these feelings. Let’s just say that,
A small act of gratitude can cause ripple effects that reach farther than you would imagine.
There are many more studies posted on the world wide web (thank goodness for the Internet!) that corroborate these positive findings. But I don’t have to read them all. I see it around me every day.
Most importantly, I would like to thank Peggy Burt. Peggy has been my partner in developing this blog since its inception and I want to say thank you! Peggy has inspired me to think differently and is a wonderful collaborator.
Hope each of you have a wonderful New Year.
Cheers to 2020!