We appear to live in a culture that has become progressively focused on the negative aspects of life.
It used to be that as a nation we were seen as optimistic (and somewhat arrogant) by most of the world, but I believe our new outlook has come from two events:
- The financial downturn in 2008 and the resultant age of austerity
- The growth of the “if there’s the slightest reason, we will sue you” culture that came from the USA
We are too prone now to focusing on and speaking of the negatives; you can see it in the news, in our personal lives and in workplaces. In business, it’s too easy to focus on what went wrong; the customer wasn’t happy, the IT systems are slow, something didn’t get done on time – and with that comes a culture of blame. However, more often than not these ‘failings’ are rare. We know that this is the case, so why do spend so much time focussing on them?
Do we take great performances from employees for granted and not speak about them enough? Do we take great service levels for granted and not acknowledge them? I fear that the answer to both questions is yes.
What I am advocating is spending a proportionate amount of time looking at the GREAT things that happen every day in our respective businesses – and I know from experience that by doing so the number of ‘daily grumps’ start to decrease.
In the past, I have led campaigns to “Catch People Doing Things Right!” This was first demonstrated by my brilliant mentor (Mick Woodall) and it is such a powerful tool. It can be done through a simple verbal “thank you” or through regular awards. The secret is to acknowledge it as soon as you see it – it can lose its meaning and impact if shouted about after the fact.
I see brilliance in operation every day at My Home Move, but I have been guilty of taking it for granted. Therefore, I am now renewing my ‘Catching People Doing Things Right’ campaign – and it’s working already.
For example, people from all over the business recently got a very big project live in record time – a truly outstanding achievement. One of the team members that led the charge did an amazing job, so I told her personally and wrote to her manager to express my thanks and admiration (also admitting that sometimes we take her for granted).
I would normally have thanked her at the end of the project, but I decided to tell her the minute I recognised her talent because I knew intuitively it was the right thing to do. Since then, I have made a point of paying my colleagues compliments on their work as soon as a see it. It takes some time to change the mind-set, but once you consciously look for the good that’s happening every day, it’s easy to see just how fantastic people are.
The same principle of ‘Catching People Doing Things Right’ applies to everything we do in life. Whether we are with loved ones or in a restaurant or a shop being served by an employee who is delivering outstanding service – the same principle applies.
I recommend that we all focus more on the positives and say thanks as much as possible – it makes a huge difference to the working day!