One of the Rock Star Principles I often discuss in my motivational business speeches is appreciation. Specifically, that no matter who you are or how big the company grows, appreciation is still necessary on so many levels.
Your Employees: Yes, you pay them to do a job and you expect them to do a job. But you'll get a lot more from those that work for you when you show you appreciate them. I occasionally used to put a "Closed for Inventory" sign on the door at The Space Store and take the staff for pedicures. When there were times I needed a little extra effort and/or time from the staff, it was always there.
Your Employer: Most think of it as sucking up or at least brown nosing. It is that if it's not sincere. Otherwise, even the boss likes to hear thank you once in awhile. Just imagine, all day long, all the one at the top hears is about the problems, the issues, the complaints, etc. A sincere thank you goes a long way, especially when no one else is saying thanks.
Contractors: Rock star Billy Idol played a concert at a Houston amphitheater in the mid 80's. Breaking all attendance records, the Six Flags management team was thrilled. Billy and his band did what they were contracted to do. The venue did what they were supposed to do and honored the contract. Even though both sides met all contractual obligations, that management team went above and beyond to say thank you to Team Billy Idol for a job well done. They opened up the adjacent water park, turned on the lights and rides, gave Billy and his entourage bathing suits and towels and said "thanks."
Vendors: The Space Store worked with vendors all over the world for the space toys and products sold online. Now, in most business relationships, it is usually the vendor giving the buyer a gift. Instead, The Space Store would send a giant Hershey's Chocolate Tower to our biggest vendors early each Fall to say thanks for getting product to us year round. Come the holiday rush, guess which store always got special consideration when supplies and patience were running low??
Just because: Most importantly, you show appreciation for those around you, whether it's employees or customers, by doing the right thing. By doing something just because your internal compass says it would be the right thing to do, not taking into consideration the bottom line, the profit margin or what others would think, good or bad. Van Halen did just that when they visited a young man in a Houston hospital many years ago. A video of that visit recently surfaced and it served to remind me once again that you can never go wrong doing the right thing. What the band did then is still as powerful now as it was so long ago. When you do the right thing, you are saying that you appreciate your customers enough to respect them.
Today's speech was to the Houston chapter of the American Marketing Association, a dynamic group of marketing professionals, many of who came up afterwards to express their appreciation for the presentation. That of course is always, well, appreciated.
However, the one that stands out? One of the breakfast servers who made a point to say thank you to me for reminding participants to say thank you to the staff. For telling the crowd that 'even though you paid for the event, the food, the meeting space and the servers, you should still say thank you.'
That server who said thank you? She's recovering from Stage 1 breast cancer and has two more chemo appointments left. She said "thanks for making me matter today." That's all I needed to hear to make my day.
Dayna Steele is a serial entrepreneur, a media strategist, and is the author of Rock to the Top: What I Learned about Success from the World's Greatest Rock Stars. She travels the world helping grow businesses with her presentation "Find Your Inner Rock Star" and is currently working on her next book I'm With the Band: Networking Rock Star (Network Your Way into Anything Anywhere Anytime!)