Top of Mind: An Undervalued Asset

November 23, 2016 02:46 AM
Top of Mind: An Undervalued Asset

Let’s be real. Next year will be tough. Even if we see a commodity-price rebound, you’re still going to be faced with difficult decisions in 2017. 

Not only will you feel extra stress, but so will your family, employees, suppliers, bankers and other partners. How can you keep your team and advisers motivated and optimistic for the future? Although it might seem overly simple, make it a priority to show your appreciation for them. 

Appreciation, gratitude and thank-yous cost you nothing but can pay dividends. When is the last time you thanked your landlords for their value to your business? Instead of needling the fee, did you acknowledge how your CPA’s work has increased the professionalism of your business? Do your employees know you notice when they go above and beyond? 

More Than A Feeling. Appreciation is a core emotion, and even scientists note its power, explains Daniel Shapiro, founder and director of the Harvard International Negotiation Program.

“This concept of appreciation is incredibly powerful in predicting everything from marital stability over time to organizational success to effective teamwork,” he points out. 

But an occasional expression of gratitude is not enough, Shapiro says. Research shows couples who are married for the long-term express five positive comments to each other for every one negative comment. 

“The couples that do not last over time have a 1:1 ratio,” he says. “The problem is not with the negative, the problem is with the lack of positive.”

This research has been replicated with organizations and teams with the same results. Appreciation needs to trump disapproval—by a landslide.

When you’re facing conflict or stress, which is likely during the next few months, gratefulness is even more important. 

Here’s Shapiro’s advice for showing deep appreciation during even the most difficult times:
    1. Truly desire to understand the perspective of the person you are seeking to connect with. 
    2. Seek out the merit in what the people around you think, feel and do.
    3. Communicate your understanding of the viewpoints of those around you. 

Yes, thank-you cards are thrown away and baked goods are gobbled up, but people will remember your sincere appreciation for years.

Join Us. Please plan to be in Chicago from Jan. 24–27 for our annual Top Producer Seminar. We have a fantastic lineup of speakers to arm you with information on business, marketing, risk management and succession planning to be successful. We thank you for your readership and wish you a blessed Christmas and prosperous 2017!

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