I recently read a column by Robert Eckert, the former CEO of Mattel who engineered its turnaround, and he highlighted two words that were crucial to his success leading the company. Although not as cool or trendy as some of the other topics I have discussed in this blog, looking at my own successes I realize these two words are as important or more important than many of the strategies I evangelize. Those words are Thank You.
Saying “thank you” should not be considered a motivational tool; it is a way for you to internalize how valuable your team is. I have not been part of one successful company that succeeded because of a single individual. It has always been a team effort, and by thanking your colleagues, business partners, customers and vendors, you are reminding yourself how important they are for your success.
Thanking people is also an important ingredient in creating a bond between you and your employees. As I wrote in a previous article, the professional achievement I am proudest of is that in almost twenty years in a leadership position, I have only had one person who reports to me quit (and we are still on very good terms). One way to build bonds with your team is by thanking them for good work.
In his column, Eckert listed some tips that work well for him. These tips include:
- Set aside time every week to acknowledge people’s good work.
- Handwrite thank-you notes whenever you can. I have personalized stationery that I use to thank people who go out of their way to help me or my company.
- Punish in private; praise in public. Make the public praise timely and specific.
- When praising, cc people’s supervisor (or higher).
- Foster a culture of gratitude. I always say the best way to foster a culture is by serving as a role model.
Remember these two words: “thank you,” and you will improve your chances for success. And thank you all for reading my blog.