231 - 5 Ways Gratitude Will Change Your Company, Culture And You
Whenever I wake up in the morning and am feeling negative and at risk of having a bad attitude for the day, I call upon my Dead Mentors Society.
These are the seven people who were my mentors who have died and who believed in me when I didn't, saw a future for me when I didn't, and, to be honest, loved me when I didn't.
As soon as I think of any of them, see them smiling at me and even talking me out of a tendency to be overly self-critical, I immediately feel grateful, better and blessed that they were in my life. It also causes my negativity to spontaneously disappear, and I enter the day positive and eager.
I have always wanted to better understand the power of gratitude in my life, so I turned to one of the pioneers in culture change, Larry Senn, founder of Senn Delaney, who recently updated — and I mean made it relevant to today and to all generations — his classic book " The Mood Elevator."
I asked Larry to delineate five ways that gratitude changes companies, culture and people. I truly appreciated drilling down into something that has been helpful to me for decades, because it helped me better understand how gratitude works.
1. Gratitude is the top floor of the mood elevator.
When we are on the higher floors, we are our best selves. We are more curious, creative, forgiving, collaborative, resourceful and loving. It’s not something we have to learn, because at our core, we all have a best self. A practice of gratitude is the quickest and surest way to access that best self and maintain it.
2. People who practice gratitude feel better about their lives as a whole.
They are more optimistic, energetic, determined, resilient, joyful and feel better about handling challenges. This creates more effective people, teams and organizational cultures.
3. Positive spirit is an essential value for any healthy, high-performing individual, team or organization’s culture.
An attitude of gratitude is the best way to get there. Gratitude is what can be called an “overriding emotion.” It creates a positive spirit, because we can’t be grateful and be worried, judgmental, angry or self-righteous at the same time.
4. Employee engagement is higher in organizations where people feel appreciated and valued.
Most people in the workplace don’t feel that way, thus don’t feel grateful for their job or their boss. This impacts the customer experience, team spirit and organizational effectiveness. Sharing appreciative feedback with others is a great way to move them up the Mood Elevator to grateful with all the benefits that provides.
5. In times of uncertainty and change, people tend to lose their perspective.
They can easily become worried, anxious and stressed. Even if 90 percent of our life is working well, we can dwell on the 10 percent that isn’t working and experience all the negative feeling that go with that.
The best antidote for those lower-mood-state feelings is maintaining a gratitude perspective. If you are reading this, chances are you have lots to be grateful for. If you simply stop and periodically count your many blessings, small and large, life will look very different.
Larry went on to explain that gratitude is helpful in and of itself, but expressing your gratitude is icing on the cake. In fact, gratitude that is not expressed is like the saying, “If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, does it make a sound?” Unexpressed gratitude is the same way.
One way to do that is to try using a “power thank you.” That has three parts:
- Contacting a person and telling them specifically what they did for you. For example, “You stepped in to help me meet my deadlines when I was going through an awful divorce.”
- Acknowledging the effort it took for them to do it. “You didn’t have to do that, and you went out of your way to even work weekends to help me through that.”
- Telling them about what they did personally meant to you. “You not only helped me meet my deadlines, your support during one of the worst times in my life helped me get through it, and I don’t know what I would have done without you.”
Having said that, I’ll add this — on behalf of myself and the readers — for you, Larry: Thank you.