Monday, November 28, 2011

Still Thankful?

Well Friends - Thanksgiving has come and gone. Football played, turkey devoured, adult beverages consumed. A week's preparation for a week's clean up. This year I had the pleasure of uniting three generations of Kovacovich's in the beautiful ocean side location of Carmel by the Sea (in California). Between trips to the beach with 11 of the worlds greatest people, I fired up the Twitter back-channel. It was run amok with glad tidings from one cyber friend to another. There were blog posts, hashtags and charitable splash pages....all messages of thanks from one human to another for a year well served.

...on Friday, it was gone!

#thankful was replaced by #blackfriday. Stories of families breaking bread were replaced with pepper spray melees at the local Walmart. Thanks had given way to disagreements again. The spirit of the holiday faded quickly. Today, people are boarding their cars with furrowed brows hesitant to open their over-crowded inboxes. Have we reduced ourselves to one day a year to say Thank You?

We will spend the next few months rushing through stores buying things for people. A way to express our gratitude. "I spent money on you, so I must care"! Office desks will be crowded with wine we won't drink and chocolates that will weigh us down. We spend, consume, and pretend to care; in hopes that it might serve our personal gain.

My friend Pete shared a story of his need for brain surgery this last weekend. My friend Ralph lost his battle to cancer just a week before Thanksgiving. These are real stories that are happening to us every day. I am not willing to believe that we have lost our ability to make human connections at work. We cannot
ignore vulnerability in our co-workers for fear it will create more work.

Are you creating memorable experiences? Are you fostering meaningful relationships? Do you possess the ability to make others feel special?

Yes! You Do!

People need help....and YOU are going to help them. Here's how:
Lead by example
Be a good listener
Put dedicated thought into your Thank You's

If not you, then who?
Sometimes our advice to others is met with reluctance. We feel that we will offer words of encouragement and they will be rejected. What's the use?

People are more willing to accept advising from those who practice what they preach.
Take care of yourself....exercise, eat right and disengage in harmful habits.
Work up early, work late and be responsive.
Have a plan....short and long term planning allows for clarity of purpose and a fall back plan.

Two ears and one mouth
No one has an answer for everything. If they do, they are simply playing semantics. No one enjoys talking to someone who has a retort to every word spoken. We need to learn to listen more than we talk. We need to be able to take in information and give relevant feedback. Sometimes people just need to get things off their chest. Sometimes people need to be told in direct terms that their actions are inelegant.

Put away the cookie cutters
Now that Thanksgiving is over, you can put away the cookie cutters. It is the time of year when holiday cards come pouring in: Do you have better appreciation for a hand written note or a mass produced stock message? Cookie cutter thank you's serve the direct opposite purpose of their intended gratitude.

The greatest moments you will experience at work will have one thing in common: a lot of thought was put in to creating a meaningful experience. The best gifts you have received have been profoundly meaningful to you because someone took time to know you, researched, and made extra effort to give you something that was irreplaceable. This needs to be part of our every day!

We need to put thought into the experiences we create for our co-workers. Our co-workers need to become our friends.

It Can Happen!

If you put thought and extra effort into everything you do for others you will be looked upon favorably. When people respect you they will always listen to your advice. We will all grow together!

Don't Forget to Remember!


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