Sincere Appreciation

Dale Carnegie

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It was a busy day at the plant and I was feeling particularly pressed for time. The quarterly service awards were to be presented that afternoon but there was no time in my day for such trivial things. I’m a busy man in a busy food manufacturing plant and after all, my boss has time for that sort of thing. Not only did I have deadlines quickly approaching, I also needed to spend my time on the production floor driving improvements. I quickly checked my e-mail for any critical messages and made my way to production for my first plant walk through of the day. Everything was going well so I started walking back towards my office and our HR Manager caught up with me. Susan was always good to work with but was bringing news I didn’t want to hear. “You know that the Plant Manager is out today, right? He wants you to present the service awards this afternoon.” Grrrrr. I managed to suppress my first reaction and mustered my best, “I’d love to” though I doubt it was very convincing.

There was still several hours before the service awards yet I knew the day would slip by quickly and thought I’d better prepare right away. Dale Carnegie teaches 30 HR principles including 9 principles for enhancing relationships. Principle 2 is to give honest, sincere appreciation. Principle 9 is to make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely. The service awards ceremony was the perfect opportunity to give sincere appreciation to those receiving the awards. I took some time to think through what I sincerely appreciated about each of the recipients. There was one recipient that was going to be easy to praise. John was a model employee who was moving up the ranks and was taking classes at the local college. I started with what I would say about John then moved on to the other recipients.

I have my thoughts together and decided to get back into the plant. The rest of the day flies by and it’s time for the service awards before I know it. I was glad that I prepared earlier in the day. I present the awards and express sincere appreciation for each of the honorees. As it turns out, presenting the awards wasn’t that bad and really didn’t take too much time. I felt like I made it through the ceremony OK and was eager to get back to work.

A week goes by and one early morning we are having some issues with our auxiliary equipment. I happen to see John as we are both heading back to the dock to check it out. John brought up the service award and thanked me for honoring him. He was so excited that on his way home he bought flowers and champagne to celebrate with his wife. I was floored. All I did was express sincere appreciation and that young man was feeding off every word. You cannot believe how happy I was that I had the privilege to present his award. I was even happier that I took the opportunity seriously.

Let me challenge you today. Who do you know that you sincerely appreciate? Who do you know that does little things well? Who do you know in a less than glamorous job that does it every day with little recognition and without complaint? Let them know that you noticed and you care. You’ll make their day, and feel better about yourself. Expressing sincere appreciation builds relationships and makes you a better leader.

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About Christian Paulsen

Christian Paulsen is an Executive Consultant with 20 years of Lean Manufacturing. Chris adds value to organizations by driving process improvement and bottom line savings. Chris intends to help others by sharing the lessons learned after a quarter century of operational leadership, marriage, parenting, and even longer as a Cubs fan. Your comments on this blog are welcome. You can also connect with Chris via LinnkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook in the right sidebar. Chris welcomes your comments. Christian's professional services are available by contacting him through LinkedIn (right side bar)
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17 Responses to Sincere Appreciation

  1. Thanigaivel says:

    Christian,

    Great article. I would say best among your other articles.

  2. pattymooney says:

    You are so right about that, Christian. People really appreciate it when you acknowledge them. And it takes so little effort. You could be amazed by how influential a little comment is to someone, when you thought it was “nothing.” But to them, it could make their day, and they could remember it for the rest of their life. So why not give that gift of kindness every day?

  3. Tony Wilding says:

    Good article. I know I need to do more of this – hopefully I can use this as inspiration to follow through and DO IT.

    Thanks

  4. Dan Rockwell says:

    Chris,

    Great story. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    I agree with Patty. Appreciation is easy to give yet, as your story illustrates it has powerful long-term positive impact.

    I’ll add that showing appreciation has been a choice for me. I frequently see ways that things can be improved. However, I’ve chosen to withhold small tweaks and replace them with appreciation. It raises morale and feeds momentum.

    Thanks for your work,

    Leadership Freak,
    Dan Rockwell

  5. Dan,

    Thank you for your comments and insight. You have an excellent point that I’ll work on adding into my routine. Expressing appreciation for what’s right and refraining from minor corrections would do wonders.

    Thanks again,
    Chris

  6. Mina Joshi says:

    Hello Christian

    I wish my boss was following your blog!! Your title says it all.

    Everyone’s job is important and by presenting the Awards and getting to know a bit about your staff makes them feel valued which is so important to everyone!! It boosts their moral and they will work harder for you.

    I enjoy reading your blog.

    Mina

  7. Mina,

    Thank you! I appreciate your comments and that you are reading my posts. Your insight is right on the mark.

    All the best,
    Chris

  8. Chris Sanderson says:

    Chris –

    First, I love how you started right in the incident. No preface, no preview, just right into the action. That will keep your readers engaged. Perfect.

    Second, have you considered making your links (i.e. “30 Human Relations Principles) open in a new window? It’s always dangerous when posting online to make links open in the same window. You risk losing your reader to the site that you have linked to.

    Finally, thanks for the reminder of just how incredibly powerful these simple principles really are.

    Miss you, my friend.

    Chris

    • Chris,

      Great suggestion! I’ll have to switch my links so they go to the new windows. Thanks for your insight. We’ll keep in touch.

      Warm regards,
      Chris

      • Christian,

        Setting up the link to open in another window is fairly easy to do, but you’ll have to make some small modifications to your html code.

        Currently, you probably have code for the link that looks like the following: <a href="http://www.dcarnegietraining

        What you want to add is the target attribute like so:
        <a target="_blank" href="http://www.dcarnegietraining

        This will open the link in a new blank window or tab depending on how you have your browser set up.

        Secondly, I love hearing (and reading) how other people are implementing the principles in their lives. As an instructor, I get to hear a lot of great stories of people making some amazing accomplishments simply by making a small adjustment in how they handle people.

        You showed us that great leaders are human as well, facing the same frustrations that everyone else faces during the day. What makes a leader great, like you, is the ability to put those "things" down for a bit to pick someone else up. Thanks again for sharing the story.

        If you have more, be sure to post. As I said before, I'm always looking for examples of how people are applying the principles in their lives to accomplish great deeds.

  9. Mari-Lyn says:

    Appreciation marketing is great..I love the change you made to your site.. Wonderful!

  10. Mary Bearden says:

    I know I respond better if I have some acknowledgement that I am even there. That is all it really takes, just let me know that you know I am there in the same place. I don’t work anymore due to disability (Fibromyalgia, RA, IC, IBS, etc) too many to list. But while I was working I felt alot of the time I was invisible. Maybe the Executive Secretary is but when I became an Office Mgr. at another company, I sure did get my wish! Then I wish I could disappear! We have to be careful what we wish for. Thanks Chris! Came over from the Linkedin Group and you had left me a comment on my blog and wanted to return the favor. Hope I helped a little.

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