Here is what I know about Thanksgiving: It’s less about focusing us on giving thanks than it is about gorging on turkey and stuffing. Ironically, perhaps, during the same week as our Thanksgiving, the British mark National Thank You Week. It’s not just about this vague notion of thanks — it’s aimed at helping us thank the people we encounter every day.
Thanking people isn’t simply a matter of common courtesy. A 10-year study by leadership experts Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton of 200,000 managers and employees showed that saying “thank you” correlates with bigger profits. This isn’t surprising, because giving thanks is a great motivational tool; who doesn’t like to be thanked? What is surprising is how hard it is to do the thanking. (Even the Brits, with their thank-you week, apparently still aren’t good at saying those two words; in another survey, 30% of respondents said they don’t even bother anymore, instead opting for a much less gratitude-filled “cheers.”)
As a not-for-profit CEO, I say lots of thank-yous — to sponsors, donors, staff, volunteers. So in this season that purports to be all about the giving of thanks, let’s muse on who to thank and how to do it effectively. [read]