“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” -William Arthur Ward
I am recruiting folks with gratitude in need of sharing and hope you will join us. You see, I recently realized I had not thanked our project team for too long. As a result, I cleared my calendar for a while and wrote several, sincere notes of gratitude. The response, as you might expect, was great. Some needed the reassurance their efforts were valued and others simply appreciated that I had taken the few minutes to say, “thanks”. To avoid letting too much time pass again and to help others avoid the same, I’ve decided to start a new campaign: “Thank-You Thursdays”. Each week, I will block time on my calendar to simply say, “thank you”. My hope is that others will join me in this campaign.
There are seven days a week to thank others and we should use them all. So why specifically highlight Thursdays?
1. It’s Catchy: ” Thank-You Thursdays” is catchy, so we’re more likely to remember it.
2. Time to Reflect: We will have most of the business week from which to identify contributions.
3. Before the Weekend: The messages are likely to be read before the weekend, supporting timely feedback.
4. Minimize Disruptions: Thursdays avoid any 3 and most 4 day weekends.
5. Morale Boost: Sometimes, we just need that boost to get us through Friday.
Who to Thank?
I realize we should thank anyone that has a positive impact on us, our organizations, our families or other stake holders. Yet sometimes we only think of the most obvious and direct contacts. Here are some reminders I developed to build a list of thank you recipients:
1. Direct Reports: Your team should be thanked frequently.
2. Peers: Team members in the organization. Independent? Consider your professional network.
3. Bosses: Present or past, as well as any mentors you may have.
4. Customers: Anyone who ultimately “buys” (literally or figuratively) your product or service.
5. Family: When was the last time you thanked your spouse, parents, children or siblings for all they do?
6. Companies: Is there a product or service you particularly like? Did you ever send them a thank-you note?
7. Non-Profits: Many NPO employees and volunteers work harder, for less. They deserve our gratitude.
8. Representatives: Have you thanked your politician today? What about local government workers?
9. Professionals: Accountants, Doctors, Teachers, even Lawyers and other certified professionals all deserve thanks.
10. Service Men & Woman: Have you thanked someone in the military recently? What about police officers or firefighters?
How to Say Thank You
Most of us have a variety of ways in which we can say, “thanks”. The best choice is probably to mix it up, especially so the same person does not receive the same method too frequently. Here’s a short list of free and relatively inexpensive options to consider:
1. In Person: Many people believe the face-to-face, direct thank-you is best.
2. Email: The most common method and likely the one I will use most. Consider copying their boss.
3. Chat: Instant messaging is good, real-time feedback, without having to be face-to-face.
4. Meetings: If you’re in a meeting with people you want to thank, add a slide or speak to your gratitude.
6. Certificates: Printable certificates are available online and enable recipients to retain and display your gratitude.
7. eCards: Electronic cards are simple, yet creative ways to share your thanks.
8. Cards: Traditional, hand written notes are increasingly rare and appreciated. Try keeping a box in your desk.
9. Flowers: Having a bouquet of flowers delivered is a great way to communicate and display your gratitude.
10. Meal: Why not take them to lunch or treat the team to a pizza? Can’t meet in person? Send a gift certificate.
The best feedback is frequent, so we should say, “thank you” as often as possible. However, here’s a couple guidelines to help frame the frequency:
1. Frequent but Meaningful: Yes, you should say, “thank you” often, but not so often that it becomes meaningless. Make sure the gratitude is sincere and not concocted.
2. Degree of Interaction: If it is a member of your team, you should thank them more often because, chances are, they are doing more for you and the organization on a regular basis.
3. Avoid Routine: Not to contradict the weekly Thursday intent, the idea here is not to necessarily thank the same person, every week, at the same time. For individuals you thank regularly, don’t always wait until Thursday to share it – mix it up.
I’ve never been perfect about showing gratitude, nor do I think “Thank-You Thursdays” will make me perfect at this practice. However, I do think it will help me and I hope it will help you. Won’t you join the campaign for Thank-You Thursdays? Thank someone now.
Questions: How do you say “thank you”? What’s the best way someone thanked you?