Thursday, February 21, 2013

How to Give a Meaningful "Thank You "

by Mark Goulston  |  12:00 PM February 20, 2013

Forget the empty platitudes; your star employee is not a "godsend." They are a person deserving of your not infrequent acknowledgment and worthy of appreciation and respect. When was the last time you thanked them — really thanked them?
In my line of work, I frequently communicate with CEOs and their executive assistants, and nowhere is the need for gratitude more clear.
After one CEO's assistant had been particularly helpful, I replied to her email with a grateful, "I hope your company and your boss know and let you know how valuable and special you are."
She emailed back, "You don't know how much your email meant to me." It made me wonder — when was the last time her boss had thanked her?
This happens frequently. For instance, a few years ago, I was trying to get in touch with one of the world's most well-known CEOs about an article. His assistant had done a great and friendly job of gatekeeping. So when I wrote to her boss, I included this: "When I get to be rich, I'm going to hire someone like your assistant — to protect me from people like me. She was helpful, friendly, feisty vs. boring and yet guarded access to you like a loyal pit bull. If she doesn't know how valuable she is to you, you are making a big managerial mistake and YOU should know better."
A week later I called his assistant, and said, "I don't know if you remember me, but I'm just following up on a letter and article I sent to your boss to see if he received it."
His assistant replied warmly, "Of course I remember you Dr. Mark. About your letter and article. I sent him the article, but not your cover letter."
I thought, "Uh, oh! I messed up." Haltingly, I asked why.
She responded with the delight of someone who had just served an ace in a tennis match: "I didn't send it to him, I read it to him over the phone."
Needless to say, that assistant and I have remained friends ever since.
Yes, CEOs are under pressure from all sides and executives have all sorts of people pushing and pulling at them. But too often, they begin to view and treat their teams, and especially their assistants, as appliances. And a good assistant knows that the last thing their boss wants to hear from them is a personal complaint about anything. Those assistants are often paid well, and most of their bosses — especially the executives to which numbers, results, ROI and money means everything — believe that great payment and benefits should be enough.
What these executives fail to realize is that many of those assistants are sacrificing their personal lives, intimate relationships, even their children (because the executive is often their biggest child).
There will always be people who think that money and benefits and even just having a job should be thanks enough. There are also those that think they do a great job without anyone having to thank them. But study after study has shown that no one is immune from the motivating effects of acknowledgement and thanks. In fact, research by Adam Grant and Francesca Gino has shown that saying thank you not only results in reciprocal generosity — where the thanked person is more likely to help the thanker — but stimulates prosocial behavior in general. In other words, saying "thanks" increases the likelihood your employee will not only help you, but help someone else.
Here's a case in point: at one national law firm, the Los Angeles office instilled the routine of Partners earnestly and specifically saying, "Thank you," to staff and associates and even each other. Eeveryone in the firm began to work longer hours for less money — and burnout all but disappeared.
Whether it's your executive assistant, the workhorse on your team, or — they exist! — a boss who always goes the extra mile for you, the hardest working people in your life almost certainly don't hear "thank you" enough. Or when they do, it's a too-brief "Tks!" via email.
So take action now. Give that person what I call a Power Thank You. This has three parts:
  1. Thank them for something they specifically did that was above the call of duty. For instance, "Joe, thanks for working over that three-day weekend to make our presentation deck perfect. Because of it, we won the client."
  2. Acknowledge to them the effort (or personal sacrifice) that they made in doing the above. "I realize how important your family is to you, and that working on this cost you the time you'd planned to spend with your daughters. And yet you did it without griping or complaining. Your dedication motivated everyone else on the team to make the presentation excellent."
  3. Tell them what it personally meant to you. "You know that, rightly or wrongly, we are very much judged on our results and you were largely responsible for helping me achieve one that will cause my next performance review to be 'over the moon,' just like yours is going to be. You're the best!"
If the person you're thanking looks shocked or even a little misty-eyed, don't be surprised. It just means that your gratitude has been a tad overdue.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Gift of Fear, review by Milton Drepaul

Today I write about one of the most important books I know about intuition - The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. I highly recommend this book, published a few years ago but very relevant today.It is written by a world class expert on predicting violent behavior. If you follow de Becker's advice you will live more fully, courageously and realistically.

This post is prompted because two of my friends, Radha Singh (Wisdom From the Heart)and Haimdat Sawh whom I recently talked to about this book thanked me for guiding them to it.Their enthusiastic responses reminded me how important this book is to all of us.

Gavin de Becker says victims of violent behavior usually feel a sense of fear before any threat or violence takes place. They have a choice.Distrust the fear, or use it to force them to action that can save them. The author argues that we can all learn to recognize these signals of the "universal code of violence," and use them as tools to help us survive. In the book readers are taught how to identify the warning signals of a potential attacker and recommends strategies for dealing with the problem before it becomes life threatening. The book has many actual case studies which are gripping and suspenseful.De Becker uses these to suggest tactics for dealing with similar situations.

Learning to predict violence is essential to preventing it. If we understand the psychology of violence,we may be able to prevent more violent crime.

We all have a great gift of intuition,The Gift of Fear shows us how to use it effectively. Milton Drepaul

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Quick decisions sometimes the best

Trusting your instincts may help you to make better decisions than thinking hard, a study suggests.

The researchers said that in their test, the instinctive decisions were more likely to be correct because the subconscious brain recognised a rotated version of the same object as different from the original, whereas the conscious brain could identify the two objects as identical, albeit in different orientations.

Dr Zhaoping said: "The conscious or top-level function of the brain, when active, vetoes our initial subconscious decision - even when it is correct - leaving us unaware or distrustful of our instincts and at an immediate disadvantage.

"Falling back on our inbuilt, involuntary subconscious processes for certain tasks is actually more effective than using our higher-level cognitive functions."

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Longevity Gene Keeps the Mind on top

A gene variant that's associated with long life also seems to contribute to enhanced mental function to the 100 years plus. The study included 158 people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent who were 95 or older. The gene variant produces a protein that increases the size of the lipoprotein particles that carry both "good" HDL cholesterol and "bad" LDL cholesterol in the blood.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Killer painkillers

The FDA estimates that close to 200,000 Americans are hospitalized every year due to overdoses and side effects of normal doses of these drugs, and they are the cause of thousands of deaths per year.

The Food and Drug Administration said that more effective warning labels for acetaminophen, widely known by the brand name Tylenol, and pain relievers also known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. This group includes ibuprofen and aspirin.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

So Lettuce is the suspect not green onions

Not the beef or the cheeze, but the lettuce is the most likely suspect. Guess green onions is out of the picture as a culprit. I wonder if folks are staying away from Taco Bell? Exercise and a good diet are the keys to staying healthy and staying away from these fast food joints. Are the other fast food joints picking up the slack left by Taco Bell?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Green onions

I was driving from Clearwater to Tallahassee and had the hankering for some Taco Bell, could not find one and so settled for Whataburger. Heard that Taco Bell and green onions and E. coli all in the same sentence and was glad I missed the musical food. Well they are staying that they have not ruled out green onions, I wonder what other E. coli ridden vegetable are being dished out not only from Taco Bell but all the other fast food and some slow food joints. Good nutrition is important and I guess all this E. coli talk encourages folks to cook at home.