Show appreciation ~ say “Thank you!”
This past Monday I checked in with one of our Turbo affiliates, Mike. We reviewed the former week, quickly updated each other on our current clients, and took a look forward. We usually include current updates on our families. I asked Mike how his daughter was doing in her new sales position at a soft drink distribution center in Eugene. He told me that over the past couple of weeks they had a recall on one of their products, a juice brand they distribute. All of the product had to be completely removed from the shelves at every customer location. To be compliant, they had less than ten days to remove the product. This required extra effort and overtime on everyone’s part, including the drivers, salespeople, and even some of the office staff. With a heroic effort they got it done. All of the product was successfully removed before the deadline.
Mike’s daughter took it upon herself to buy three dozen donuts and place them in the driver’s break room with a note that said, “Thanks. I know you all worked very hard. I appreciate it. You made my job easier. You helped both in the successful achievement of this project, and more importantly, in our commitment to continue improving our brand’s reputation for outstanding customer service.”
A few days later, she received a phone call from someone she’d never met, a name and title she recognized from the Oregon headquarter office. He said, “I heard that you bought donuts for our drivers and salespeople.” As Mike was telling me this story, I thought “Oh no!” He went on, “I appreciate you taking the initiative. This is the kind of teamwork recognition and acknowledgement we all need to provide to each other if we’re going to create
continuous improvement and a world class, high morale, desirable place to work.” He went on, “So far as I know, no one has ever provided this kind of acknowledgement or recognition for work beyond the call of duty.”
I said, “Mike, you must be so proud.” It took courage for his daughter to buy the donuts. The price of the donuts is trivial, yet some people would make that an issue. It was the risk of having her sincerity questioned, the risk of breaking with tradition, the risk of people thinking she was looking for brownie points. Who knows all the reasons why we don’t initiate saying “thank you” when it’s more than appropriate? It requires that we take the initiative. We break with tradition, we break with routine, we break with established norms. How in the world can any organization expect to create breakthroughs in their performance if they don’t break with old norms? It doesn’t make sense. We don’t seem to recognize that breakthroughs require a break with norms.
P.S. If you are a regular Turbo Charger reader, you may recall that I wrote about Mike’s daughter about six months ago (https://www.turbols.com/newsletters/TC_15- NOV-11.html). If you know anyone who is unemployed or under-employed, give them this Turbo Charger to read.
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