Two little words: “thank you.” That’s all it takes sometimes to show someone that they are appreciated, that their efforts are appreciated, and that they matter.
Saying “thank you” becomes a habit like anything else, and it’s a good habit. If someone gives me a paperclip when I need one, or opens the door for me, or helps me muscle my groceries into my car, I say “thank you.” I don’t do this because I am a particularly good person–I do it because not only do I appreciate the tiniest thing done for me, but it makes me keep a constant attitude of gratitude.
I often think of the pace of the world now as compared to the world I grew up in–when did we all become so busy? There is so much technology out there today that is supposed to make our lives easier, but does it make us better people? Just the fact that we can do things faster doesn’t necessarily mean that we are doing them any better. Not only that, but it seems (to me, anyway) that there is precious little gratitude or grace any more. That’s a real loss.
Many of us work in businesses where being fast is better than being thorough; there is often too little time to do things right. It makes me wonder why it’s easier to fix things later on instead of doing them right the first time. But that’s just me…
The saddest part of being on the go, go, go 24/7 in this uber-fast world we now live in is that we don’t always take time to be appreciative. It takes such a little bit of time to look someone in the eye and say “thank you.” But that tiny moment can mean the world to someone.
I was recently speaking with a friend who told me about a great presentation he attended at work. His company made a good product; dependable, priced right and made in America. One of the managers held a mandatory meeting for all employees; morale was down and people were actively searching for jobs outside the company. The meeting was a presentation about what it took to get the company product out the door on time. He asked the marketing and sales folk to stand against the wall, and said, “Here are the people who make our sales happen and are responsible for our revenue. Please thank them with a round of applause.”
Next, he asked the engineers and project managers who were responsible for keeping the product up to date and competitive in the marketplace to come forward. He said, “These folks keep our product in line with the marketplace and look for new ways to make our products better than those of our competitors.” They, too, were thanked and got a round of applause.
He then asked the manufacturing people to come up. He said, “These are the people who back up all the marketing, sales, engineers and project managers. These are the people who put our product together.” These folks got a huge round of applause, plus a loud shout-out of thanks.
Lastly, he called for the testers and packaging workers to come up. He said, “These are the people who are responsible for getting all our products tested, checked and re-checked, packaged properly and shipped out the door on time. Without them, none of you would be successful.” They got the biggest and longest round of applause, and shouts of “thank you!” rang through the room. Everyone was standing, and everyone had been acknowledged and thanked for their work.
This acknowledgement of all levels infused the company with a new feeling of appreciation. And guess what? Everyone worked harder and was happier. All this because they were recognized and thanked.
How much time does it take to say the words “thank you?” Maybe a second or two. But the difference it makes can affect lives in ways that nothing else can.
Be good, do good and remember to thank everyone for everything.