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Be Thankful for Your Most Valuable Asset

In business, as in life, it’s easy to get so caught up in dealing with negatives that we overlook the positives.

Another smooth quarter of steady growth might not command your attention the way putting out a fire does. But it should. Taking time to be grateful for the people who are helping you Make BIG Happen isn’t just good for the team and the company’s talent retention. It’s good for you, the CEO. Just like a Thanksgiving meal reminds us of what’s really important in life, being thankful for your team can remind the CEO of how far you’ve come, how much you’ve accomplished, and how much potential your company has.

Here are four ways to show your gratitude for your company’s most valuable asset: your top talent.

1. Build a FORD for key team members.

Customer service expert John DiJulius insists that after meeting a customer, his employees should be able to complete a FORD profile: Family, Occupation, Recreation, Dreams. He’s even incorporated these categories into his company’s CRM system so that every customer interaction can be personalized.

Building a similar database for your team might feel a little impersonal at first. But be honest: in the hustle and bustle of being a CEO, you sometimes forget what day it is. Your executive assistant can help you put together a Word doc or spreadsheet with some key info like birthdays, spouse’s name, hobbies, favorite sports teams, etc. After a few friendly chats you won’t need these records for every employee, because you’ll really know them. Your team members will feel and appreciate that effort.

2. Recognize personal events.

Your personalized FORD system will also help you go the extra mile on BIG days in your employees’ lives. Buying someone lunch on their birthday or sending a gift card for a child graduating high school shows that person that you care about them outside the office as well.

One personal event you definitely want to recognize is professional anniversaries, including a new team member’s first day. Entrepreneur coaching client Jamil Nizam welcomed a new COO and his wife to the company with his and hers Montblanc pens, a handwritten note, company swag, and a party.

Take note: Jamil’s COO still keeps that handwritten card from the CEO on his desk. The more digital our daily communications become, the more people seem to appreciate the extra effort that goes into pen on paper, especially on important occasions.

3. Celebrate excellence.

A company that’s firing on all cylinders usually has laser focus on its BIG annual goals. But all the smaller victories that your company racks up along the way deserve celebration as well. Again, something as simple as buying meals or passing out gift cards to a team that’s just cleared a major hurdle is a low-cost investment in alignment that can pay off BIG.

Public acknowledgment can be even more powerful. Imagine the impact if the CEO popped in on the customer service department’s weekly meeting to praise a rep who went the extra mile for a customer.

And if you really want to make celebrating wins a part of your culture, get all your employees involved. Many companies have started creating “kudos boards” on their intranet where employees can share stories of coworkers who exhibited company values, often with small prizes attached.

“Imagine the impact if the CEO popped in on the customer service department’s weekly meeting to praise a rep who went the extra mile for a customer.”

– Mark Moses

4. Give back.

“The Great Resignation” isn’t about people wanting to stay home. It’s about people searching for more meaning in their work. They want to feel that what they do has value, and they also want to feel valued by their employer.

Compensation is one place to start. Offering employee stock ownership programs (ESOPs) and other kinds of profit-sharing to top performers shows them just how important you think they are.

Your company’s mission can also be an expression of thanks. Giving back to your community or helping important causes shows employees that you appreciate the company’s success but don’t put profit above people. If appropriate, you might even follow employee input to new giving opportunities, demonstrating that the things that are important to your team are important to you as well.

Gratitude isn’t just healthy for an organization, it’s contagious. If you go out of your way to acknowledge the people who make your company excel, they’re going to feel like they work for a special company. Let that thankfulness continue to resonate throughout this holiday season and you’ll have an extra boost of momentum as you head into your annual planning session and prepare to make BIG happen next year.

About CEO Coaching International

CEO Coaching International works with CEOs and their leadership teams to achieve extraordinary results quarter after quarter, year after year. Known globally for its success in coaching growth-focused entrepreneurs to meaningful exits, CEO Coaching International has coached more than 1,000 CEOs and entrepreneurs in more than 60 countries and 45 industries. The coaches at CEO Coaching International are former CEOs, presidents, or executives who have made BIG happen. The firm’s coaches have led double-digit sales and profit growth in businesses ranging in size from startups to over $10 billion, and many are founders that have led their companies through successful eight, nine, and ten-figure exits. Companies working with CEO Coaching International for two years or more have experienced an average revenue CAGR of 31% (2.6X the U.S. average) and an average EBITDA CAGR of 52.3% (more than 5X the U.S. average).

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