How to Say More than Thank You

True story: At the end of a project I had spent more than year working on, a celebration event was held which I could not attend. Afterwards, I was given a gift: A USB key containing photos of the team having fun at the event…without me. Huh.
 
Now contrast that with a non-profit company that sent me a Christmas card personally signed by each member of the executive team to say thank you for my contribution. Do you know how much effort it takes to get each exec to sign a card? It’s worth a lot!!
 
Last week another client booked time to celebrate the successful completion of a major milestone. The team is dispersed so we all showed up online where a magician joined us for a virtual magic show (it was epic!) followed by a shared lunch supplied by Uber Eats.
 
But the real trick was that within the span of our 60-minute celebration while the leader thanked us all and recounted what we had accomplished, every person received a knock at the door signaling the delivery of a gift box.
 
The picture above captures everything in the pack except for the latte mug. I covered the bottom of the note for confidentiality, but the director had signed it. The creative play on words made everyone smile.
 
On another project I was interviewing employees to better understand the challenges they faced delivering great service so I could design a new approach. At the end of each session, I ended by opening up a box of Cadbury Flake bars. They’re rare in Canada so eyes lit up. Each person received two.

“A culture of service begins with how we treat one another. I want you to keep one bar and give another to a co-worker and thank them for the work they did.” The bars were a hit, and several gave away both to those they felt deserved or needed it.

What does this have to do with change? Sometimes we need to thank people just for showing up, for checking it out, for being willing to listen to a tough message. It’s a first step along the path.

A well-placed thank you energizes. Make it personal. Make it creative. Say it often. It makes a stronger impression than you think. It may be just what someone needs to get back in the game and push through a difficult challenge.

Thoughtfully yours,
Jeff Skipper