is president of The
Planning Shop, a
publisher of books for
THANKSGIVING. GIVING thanks.
Thanksgiving is a good time to stop and
remember the importance of saying thank you. Not
just once a year, but every day, to all those who
help make our lives and businesses possible.
In the daily rush of life, it’s easy to think only
about what’s gone wrong. Tasks left undone.
Orders filled late. Sales calls not returned. At home,
we see the messy kitchen, clogged gutters,
homework unfinished. We get good at criticizing.
What we’re not so good at is noticing things
that have gone right. The employee who shows up
on time each day. Who takes initiative. The spouse
who makes the meals or pays the bills. We take for
granted the friend who’s always there when we
need him or her.
Even if we remember to say thank you when
someone does something extraordinary, do we
think to say thank you when someone does the
ordinary well? When things go right, we believe it’s
“normal.” Yet it is often harder to do things right,
day after day, than to do the exceptional once.
Two of the most powerful words are “thank
you.” Yet I’m surprised at how much resistance
people have to those words.
Some of us don’t say thank you because we’re
afraid that if we express gratitude we’ll later be
asked to pay up. If you thank an employee, will you
have to give them a raise? If you thank your
spouse, will you have to then be willing to take her
shopping or watch the football game with him?
Yet, when someone tells us they appreciate
us, we don’t take out our mental calculators and
start drawing up a bill. Instead, we’re just glad
someone valued our efforts.
Sometimes we don’t say thank you because
we struggle for the right words. Here, I’ll help you
out: All you need to say is “Thank you. I appreciate
it.” If you can, be more specific: “It was great the
way you handled that problem. Thanks.” “That
meal was terrific. Thank you.”
This Thanksgiving, as you take time to be
grateful for turkey and pumpkin pie, also take the
time to acknowledge all those who contribute to
your ability to sit down at that table. And don’t just
wait for Thanksgiving. Try it today; look for three
opportunities to say, “Thank you.” You’ll be
surprised how much good those two little words
can do. C
CUSTOMERS choosing one
business over a competitor is
often due to the quality of
customer service. For employees, their quality of service often comes down to
inspiration and empowerment.
The empowerment is up
to the employer. Inspiration,
meanwhile, can come in
many ways, but sometimes
takes a little nudge to start.
Hire holiday help, not holiday hassles
’TIS THE SEASON when
many companies anticipate an
increased amount of business
and expect their current staff
to be overwhelmed. Employing
extra help is about more than
just adding hands.
“Finding great employees
is never easy,” observes Costco
member Mel Kleiman (www.
kleimanhr.com), an internationally recognized expert on hiring
and retaining the best hourly
employees. “But the consequences of hiring any other
kind are much harder.”
He offers these tips for
finding the personnel to help
you deck the halls.
■ Hire only those people
you’d want to keep. If you
wouldn’t hire them before the
holidays, don’t hire them now!
Customers may forgive service
that’s slower than usual; poor
BRAND X PICTURES
or incompetent service will send
them to your competition.
■ Put the right message in
the right place. Use words that
attract serious workers, not people
just looking to make a buck. And
don’t rely solely on your newspaper’s “help wanted” section. Be
creative. Post colorful, eye-catching fliers in places where the kinds
of employees you want go.
■ Recruit wherever you are,
and make the most of every
resource you have. Put recruiting messages on business cards,
and give a card to everyone
who provides you with exceptionally good service. Ask your
employees to do the same, and
reward those who bring you a
good hire with an immediate
cash bonus or paid time off
after the holidays.
■ Train better than you
think you have to train.
Provide an extra day’s training
before expecting new hires to
work on their own.
■ Take a positive, long-term approach. Make seasonal
employees’ holiday work experience a positive one so they’ll
want to come back.
“Hiring holiday help
doesn’t have to be a hassle,”
reminds Kleiman. “Just keep
your sights and your standards
high. When you look at your
books on January 2, you’ll be
thankful you did!” C
After a supermarket had
employees attend a program
on delivering customer
service “from the heart,” a
young man with Down syndrome was determined
to do just that. “Johnny,” a
bagger at the market, agonized over what he could
do, while other employees
whined and resigned themselves to a “there’s nothing
we can do” attitude. With a
simple solution, Johnny
turned frustration into revelation and motivated the other
Johnny’s story comes to
life in an emotionally charged
motivational video, Johnny
the Bagger: A True Story of
Customer Service, from
Costco member VisionPoint
( www.visionpoint.com), a
Des Moines, Iowa, company
that produces training programs for businesses and
It comes with a facilitator’s
guide, workbooks and training materials, including an
additional video, Service
from the Heart. Go to the
VisionPoint Web site, click
on “Select a Program Title,”
then Johnny the Bagger. C