Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Two Simple, Yet Powerful Words!

Everyone’s felt it at some point haven’t they? You know what I’m talking about. You do a good deed for somebody, and although you aren’t looking for anything in return, you still feel a little disappointed when you don’t so much as get a “Thank You!” Of course, it shouldn’t be our goal to seek out “Thank yous.” I mean, we really should just do good things for others out of pure love for them shouldn’t we? Even so, I know that many still yearn to hear those two simple, yet very powerful words.

Let’s flip the scenario. I’m sure many of you have experienced this: Out of the blue, you get a thank you note sent to you, but you really don’t know what you did to deserve the thank you. How did you feel? Didn’t it just warm you to know that someone appreciated what you did, even if you didn’t realize it was a big deal to them? Wow! The power of those two simple words.

Now this post really isn’t about you or me receiving “Thank yous.” Again, our goal shouldn’t be to help others purely for the sake of receiving recognition. Shouldn’t it be about all of us being more liberal with those two simple, yet powerful words? What would life be like if all of us started spreading the gratitude that so many people deserve, yet get no credit for? Heck, maybe we should even start sprinkling those two words around for no reason at all. Does someone need to do something for you in order to receive a hearty “Thank You?”

I’ve got to tell you that reading Don Frederiksen’s post on “thank yous” is what really gave me the inspiration for this post! I feel it is extremely important for us to let people know when they are doing a good job, or when they have provided a benefit for us. Here’s a neat story about a man I respected greatly in how he handled his workforce:

Grandpa’s Advice
My grandfather, John Peterson, passed away 2 years ago this last October. However, as he spent his last months in nursing homes for lung cancer, I got to spend many days with him listening to his wise advice on business. You see, my grandfather worked his way up the ranks of Meredith Publishing (which I believe is now Meredith Corporation) and retired as a manager at the print plant that used to be in Des Moines.

The day I will never forget was a day he asked me how work was going. I told him that it was a struggle as there was some tension among my employees. His question to me was this: “Eric, have you thanked them lately?” After explaining that I tried to show my gratitude in various ways, he went on to tell me his way, and why it worked.

My grandfather said that although he wore a suit and tie to work every day, he made it a point to start his day by going out to the shop floor and shaking every single print press operators hand and saying “Thank you”. He thanked them for the work they did, for their dedication to him and the company, and for being a class act individual.

Here’s another key though. He didn’t just thank them and move on. He didn’t just thank them for nothing. No, he really believed in his employees and what they did and therefore believed in those two words. His “thank you” was as authentic of a thank you as those employees could get, because he believed in the work they did.

Wow! Could you imagine having someone start your day every day with a big ol’ “Thank You?” Now that would be something. Of course, you’d probably want to throw in a real and authentic smile too!

~picture courtesy of uniquegreetings.net

Add to Technorati Favorites

Subscribe to Leadership and Other Ramblings


Anonymous said...

I liked the story about your grandfather. My condolences. He sounded like a great man and a good friend to you.

I remember my days at Hardee's. Please and Thank You were a requesite. So much that a task would not be finished without those words. We took it to annoying lengths, but in a fun and authentic way.

By the way, "Thank You" for all the help and interaction these last couple of weeks.

Lisa said...

Thank you for that simple reminder. In my capacity as an account executive in an IT company, I've found that not only thanking people, but taking the time to individually tell people how much I sincerely appreciate the things they do really makes a difference and it takes them by surprise. My corporate headquarters, and therefore, our Project Managers, Production Group, Help Desk and Operations Support Group are all in another state. Over the years, I've made it a habit to send gifts and thank you notes to people when they've gone over and above the "call of duty" to help me or our customers. It's a small investment that makes all the difference in the world.

J. Erik Potter said...

Another excellent post, Eric. You're lucky to have stories like that about your grandfather.

I totally agree that saying "Thank You" can get you everywhere. Its so simple, yet few take the time to just say it.

Eric Peterson said...

@Bob - Thank you for the comments. I tried stressing "authentic" thank yous, because I have seen times when people give you those unauthentic thank yous and smiles because it's "just the courteous thing to do." A thank you is a thank you, but I say we make sure there is a real gratitude behind the thank you. Thanks again for your comments and your blog. This has been a fun journey

@Lisa - Lisa, thank you so much for stopping by. It's so neat that you will send gifts and thank yous across states. Do you send emails? Or, actual hand written notes? I only ask because I saw a neat post on why people should go back to hand written thank yous (unfortunately, I can't remember which blog it was )

@ Erik - It is so simple isn't it? And yes, it can lift up a lot of people who need it.

erika said...

Eric -

I just noticed you've put me on your blogroll - thank you! ;-)

Another pair of words I find powerful (when , as you say, it's authentic) is "I'm sorry." I blogged about great apologies some months back - you and your readers might appreciate it: I posted it last February 11, and it's called "Just Say Sorry." (http://thesimplestthing.typepad.com/erikas_blog/

Very warmly,

Eric Peterson said...

Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate your comments. Your post on apologies was right on! I left you a comment on that post.

I'm thinking about starting a series of "Two Simple, yet Powerful Words." I haven't quite decided yet, but if I do, the apology is up next in line.

Erika Andersen said...

Hey Eric-

I love the idea of a "two simple, powerful words" series. I can think of a bunch!

And thnks for your comment on the "apologies" post...holding oneself accountable is, as you say, the foundation of success.

By the way, in Spanish, when someone has the same name as you (or the male/female version of your name), you call them your "tocayo."

So, hasta luego, tocayo!


Eric Peterson said...

@ my "tocayo" - Thank you Erika. It was your words of encouragement that inspired me to officially kick off the "Two Simple, Yet Powerful Words" series with my second post on "I'm Sorry" (posted today)

You've taught me a new word! "Tocayo." I took 4 years of Spanish in high school, but I'm not sure I could have much of a conversation these days, but it's worth a shot:
"Mi conversación con usted ha estado enriqueciendo"

Okay....so I cheated a little...I didn't know the words "has been enriching" in spanish (so I looked it up at http://translation2.paralink.com/)

Jeremy Gregg said...

Erik Potter sent me to your blog after reading a similar article on my blog:


Thanks for your work!

Jeremy Gregg, Editor
The Raiser's Razor