Often the best advice is the simplest advice. The problem with simple advice is that people don’t take it because it seems so, well, simple. My experience tells me that simple can be very effective when done over and over again. A simple way to motivate, inspire and lead smarter is to increase your output of gratitude, thank-you’s and praise.

In my leadership training I speak a lot about raising the “Positivity Ratio” at work and letting people know we appreciate them.

Today here are some of my simple thoughts on thank you’s, gratitude and praise.

For your Customers :

  • Add two more expressions of sincere gratitude to every interaction, in person or on the phone. Just think of how those two little expressions of gratitude multiplied by the number of interactions you have every day will add up.
  • Try two of these: “Thank you for calling, thank you for waiting, thank you for holding, thank you for listening to our specials, thank you for doing business with us, thank you for being our customer, we appreciate your business, we appreciate you, we appreciate your stopping in today, we appreciate your feedback, we appreciate your smile!”
  • Make sure all your internet correspondence does the same. “With gratitude..”
  • Send thank you notes and postcards written by hand.
  • Get a signature thank you gift that you send after a purchase.
  • Wrap their purchases in tissue paper that says “Thank You.”
  • Make sure the invoice says “Thank You.”
  • Make sure the “We appreciate your business” attitude comes across in every interaction – that means getting the staff together to have a conversation about what that attitude is and how to display it daily.
  • While you are at it – check your “Welcome” messages and processes as well – if you are still making it hard to do business with you, you’re sure to lose in this economy.

For your Employees:

Needless to say – but I’ll say it anyway – how people feel about their work, and their boss, affect how well they treat their customers.

  • So my first suggestion is to find people doing things right. And when you do that, be specific in praising them, and let them know how the work they do affects the bottom line and the good relationships with the customers.
  • Say “Thank You” often to employees. So many people – and company cultures – feel that “good work is what I am paying you for” and so neglect an employee’s real human need for praise and recognition. I often hear the youngest generation in the workplace (Gen Y) called the “Praise Generation.” The people I hear it from aren’t necessarily saying it as a positive reflection. (The NY Times last week called them “Generation Nice.” I feel a change in the air.)

I help leaders understand that whether they need praise and recognition (and many entrepreneurs don’t seem to need too much external praise ) is not the issue.

Every generation is raised differently and every generation shares societal and historical events. Our latest generation of workers were raised by parents that are now considered the most protective and praiseful parents in history. (“Good job Justin”) And they were raised in a time when highly structured activities were the norm from the time of toddlerhood (“Can Ashley have a play date with Courtney week after next?)

  • People – of all ages – blossom when we praise them for doing a good job, and we tell them specifically what about their behavior made it good. I believe everyone enjoys feeling proud of themselves.
  • Open and close meetings with gratitude and appreciation. Ask people to talk about something for which they are grateful when you start a meeting. When the meeting is just about over, go around the room and ask each to express appreciation about some detail of the meeting. It puts everyone on the same wavelength – and it’s a good one.
  • Get a gratitude journal (you’ve heard me recommend this many times before – now it the time to do it.) Put it in the center of the room and ask people to frequently write down things for which they are grateful – the customer that made them laugh, the muffins someone brought into work, a co-worker who helped them out of a bind. The attitude of gratitude will spread good feelings almost as well as chocolate.
  • Get your crowd together and brainstorm what you’ll do to make the customers and the co-workers feel more positive emotion today. Spread the word – it’s easy to do – and it costs practically nothing!

Have a grateful week,


This 3 minute TED video by Laura Tice shares a very timely message – the simple power of saying thank you.

Ted Talk Video


The deepest desire in human nature is the craving to be appreciated. -William James

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