Regardless of how hard the last year has been, there are still so many things to be thankful for.
Everyone thanks differently, but leaders must thank bigger and never leave doubt of their appreciation. Take time to do it right. It’s so important.
Here are 10 different ways to say thank you this Thanksgiving:
1. Walk up and say it
It can be as simple as walking up to a team member and telling them how thankful you are for them. You can never say it enough. If you are really thankful, don’t hesitate to say what chokes you up. Be brave. Be thankful. Be vocal.
2. Write a handwritten note
I hate writing handwritten notes, so if you ever get one from me you know I am thankful. I doubt that I’m unique in that way. In a computerized world, handwritten notes will stand out.
Time is money. Time is precious. Say thank you by giving them your time and attention. Share a bottle of wine, write them a Linkedin recommendation, help them move furniture, introduce them to someone who can help them, or just listen.
Whatever you do, make sure it isn’t distracted time. Put the cell phones, text messages, or emails on hold. Your attention will show how thankful you are.
5. Share their creation with the world
In a digital world, sharing is caring. Thank someone who writes, records, or builds something by tweeting, sharing, or blogging about their creations.
6. Give a personal token of your appreciation
I hate gifts that are boring, thoughtless, or sterile. Giving someone a considerate gift says you actually thought about them. It says you are really thankful.
7. Blog about your thankfulness
Although it was general in nature, last Thanksgiving I wrote a “Thank You Notes” blog post and emailed it to the people I was thinking about when writing it. It gave me a chance to demonstrate how strongly I felt, without making it into a public circus. Not everyone is a fan of the limelight.
8. Make them something
If you have any particular skill at crafting nice things, don’t hesitate to bake, build, write, or paint them something as a thank you. Just make sure it’s actually nice.
9. Share a meal
Take them out to lunch or dinner. Breaking bread is a great bonding experience and a wonderful way to say thank you. Some of my best memories are great meals or a bottle of good wine.
10. Pay it forward
The movie “Pay it Forward” was interesting and helped showcase what might be possible if people paid good deeds forward multiple times. If you are thankful to someone you can’t contact, pay it forward.
In a changing world, there is little certainty for what the future holds. What should leaders invest in? Invest in relationships.
It appears as though I have to choose between offline and online influence. If I have to decide, I’d like to give this some thought tonight.
Here’s what I’m seeing:
Online influence can affect offline relationships.
It doesn’t seem to go the other way as effectively.
Most business leaders I know aren’t blogging or using Twitter and Facebook.
My influence with them has no effect on my online influence. The worlds are very separate.
If you accept that we each have only 24 hours a day, then it is necessary to choose what we do with our time (scarcity). Should we focus on building online Klout or offline influence?
Let’s look at one situation:
I’ll use the example of Jack Welch, the former CEO of GE and author of several top business leadership books. He has been one of the most influential people in the business community for years.
I know with 100% certainty that I am NOT more influential or important than Jack. I laughed when I saw this:
Is that how Jack and I “stack up” in the offline world? Do I really have 19% more influence than Jack Welch?
Would I rather have his offline influence? Would I prefer to get $100,000 speaking fees and million dollar advances on my next book?
Or, would I rather have a higher Klout score?
I’d love to hear your thoughts, but here are four conclusions I’m coming to:
I always give up some online influence when I focus on offline relationships
I give up an lower proportion of offline influence when I focus on online relationships
I make more money from offline relationships
Many of the most influential people I know have lower Klout scores than me
After looking at the issue, it looks like we’re wasting time online when we could be building more lucrative offline relationships with people who aren’t on Twitter or Facebook much. Why are people like me so focused on Klout scores? It looks like higher online influence means lower offline influence.
Do I feel conflicted because there’s a score for online influence and no “Standard for Influence” in the offline relationship world? I still believe Klout scores matter. When people are keeping score, I like to win. It’s why I like business so much.
However, I have yet to book a speaking engagement or new consulting project because of my Klout score. Even though I’m now less influential online, hopefully my “real life” influence goes up tomorrow morning.
There is little debate that the ultimate gift is one life for another.
However, for most of us, that isn’t really a gift often requested or needed. So what’s the next best alternative?
Giving a piece of your life.
Ask the adult children of many ultra-successful 8pm Warriors what they really wanted growing up, and it wouldn’t be another BMW or horse. What do most people truly want from their mentors, parents, spouses, children, friends, or advisors?
They want your time.
Basically, they want the stuff you can’t buy, fake, or transfer.
Next time you’re wondering what to get the “person who has everything”, try giving them a piece of your life. Even a smallest amount is appreciated.
Since yesterday was my birthday, it was heartwarming to see the emails, text messages, facebook wall posts, cards, tweets, and blog comments. It took time and thoughtfulness and it was very much appreciated.
Scarcity is the universal problem of having unlimited demand in a world of limited resources. The concept explains the value of gold or oil. They aren’t making any more of it, and demand outstrips supply. Therefore it has value.
Time is even more valuable.
Just like gold, they aren’t making any more of it, but with Time there is an added wrinkle that you can’t truly buy it or take it. We all get the same amount each month, each week, each day.
All you can do is use it or waste it.
That’s why delegation and strategy are so important. It’s also why there’s no day (or night) like today to start using it to the max.
It’s no laughing matter for 8pm Warriors. The clock is ticking.
Right now millions of people are without jobs, and many talented 8pm Warriors are losing hope that their hard work and talent is going to lead nowhere. Even more people still have jobs or own a business, but are struggling to make them work in the current environment…almost just as painful in some cases.
To find comfort, consider the “Worst Case”.
Despite how bad things are right now in your life, things could always be worse. I almost guarantee it.
Don’t like how business is going?You could have a job that you hate.
Hate your job?You could have no job.
Don’t have a job?You could have no talent.
Don’t have talent?You could have no family or friends to help support you.
Don’t have any family or friends?You could have poor health.
Have bad health?You could be out of time.
Dying and out of time?That’s probably the worst case.
There is almost always a worse case, but if you work hard during the day while growing, pushing, and learning at night, nothing can stop you in the long run.
I estimate that I spend about one hour a day of quality time with her on weekdays and maybe four hours each day on the weekends. That means I’ve spent roughly 2700 hours with her during her entire life. That’s about how many hours I work in 40 weeks.
I wonder if I’m alone.
Probably not. I ran across the song below the other day. When I heard it, a sort of embarrassed laugh came out. Here’s an excerpt:
Recently, I was on Bradford Beach building a sandcastle with my two small children. While the end result was a small, but successful castle, it was the process that was so enjoyable and memorable.
But, as I looked around, I also saw parents that were leading their sandcastle building project so strongly (and efficiently) that they ruined the experience for their now crying kids. Even though they eventually finished their castle, it was a bad memory for everyone involved.
Unfortunately, I see the same thing sometimes with vacations, family reunions, weddings, and other events in our lives.
It got me thinking about the building projects, technology implementations, and other big projects that I’ve seen around the healthcare world.
In many cases, project managers have done such an amazing job of including everyone in the process and making it a positive, bonding experience. However, in other cases, the project leader was so focused on project goals, budgets, and timelines that the people involved were forgotten. Consequently people became disenfranchised, began withdrawing, and sometimes even sabotaged parts of the project. By the end, the project was completed, but people were hurt, angry, or had new jobs at other places.
So, what made the difference?
Hopefully you can remember the joy of a project that is accomplished as a true team. Take time for individuals (not just groups). Take time to explain yourself and your motivations. Take time to truly listen.
You will probably learn some great information or new perspectives, and in the worst case you will at least have a happy staff.
I know that budgets are tight in this economy. However, asking people to do more than they can do, with less than they need, and without a voice, is asking for a bigger crisis than your budget concerns.
I know it sounds easier said than done, but as the economy improves (and healthcare reform continues), you will find it harder and harder to find experienced staff in our industry. The shortages are returning, and if you forget about people, they will migrate to the leaders that listen while they lead.
Take some extra time. You won’t regret it.
About the Author:Aaron lives in Milwaukee, WI with his wife and two children and is the President & CEO of Clear Medical Solutions. When he’s not leading new initiatives, he periodically takes on interim leadership or consulting projects. He also enjoys teaching, speaking, writing, and sharing his passion for people and their healthcare.