Tuesday December 18th 2018

Two…Four…Six…Eight…

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You probably have school day memories of chanting “two, four, six, eight…who do we appreciate?” and then spelling out the name of your school team. 

This came to mind after reading in the papers all the glowing tributes paid to two great sportsmen who recently passed away within a few days of each other.

It made me consider how wonderful it would have been had they heard all that sincere and richly deserved praise before they had died.

Recognition and appreciation are so important to each and every one of us whether we care to admit it or not. And yet we so often overlook the simple gesture of telling people that we appreciate them.

A few days ago I read an article regarding a poll of 9,000 workers in 52 countries which sought their feelings towards their boss.

The British emerged as the most critical in the world. An astounding 41 per cent described their boss as totally incompetent. Only one in ten said that their boss is ‘brilliant’.

What a terrible indictment this is on the quality of management in this country!

Sadly, having spent many years involved with very large corporations this comes as no great surprise.

If my memory serves me correctly I believe it was Rockefeller, one of the most successful businessman the world has ever known, who said “Show me the man (today he would have said ‘person’) who knows how to successfully treat people, and I will show you someone who will go far in life.”

So let’s get to the point.  It doesn’t matter how knowledgeable you are about the business you are in or how skilful you are from a technical standpoint; the most important skill you can learn and develop, is the ability to lead and inspire the people who work with you.

If you don’t do that you will never be a great success.

Managing by fear, threats and intimidation went out years and years ago.

The great leaders of today intuitively understand the need to give recognition where it’s due and to say ‘thank you’ whenever appropriate.

So many people’s self esteem and feelings of worth would take a huge boost if they were on the receiving end of a bit of genuine praise and appreciation once in a while.

This isn’t confined to the workplace of course. We can all express gratitude to dozens of people every day; in our own family, amongst our friends and especially strangers who we encounter in everyday situations….at the supermarket, in a restaurant, a coffee shop, or wherever.

Last month I celebrated one of those ‘big birthdays’.  Since we have a son who is getting married in the Far East in a couple of month’s time we decided to postpone cracking open the Champagne until then, when all our family would be together.

So on my actual birthday my wife booked a table at one of our favourite restaurants for just the two of us.

Earlier that day I had spoken to my son and his partner and their little baby daughter on Skype from Stuttgart. Then I got a call from my son who lives in Singapore followed by a call from my other son who lives in Florida. Later that afternoon my daughter, the only one of my kids who lives in the UK, called me from Cheltenham.

You can guess what’s coming next no doubt!

We walked into the restaurant and were greeted at the door by the owner who we know well.  As we started to walk to our table I stopped in my tracks.  Lined up in front of us were all four of my terrific kids and their partners!

That evening was one of the greatest of my entire life….once I got over the shock of course. How my brilliant wife had been able to keep such a secret from me for so long I’ll never know! 

The wine and Champagne began to flow and for the next few hours my family were so generous in the things that they said and the sincerity in the way they expressed their feelings.

It was a truly humbling experience and I will cherish the memories of that evening for the rest of my life.

The message I hope is clear.  Don’t wait until it’s too late to show your loved ones and your friends how you love and appreciate them.  And look every day for the opportunity to make someone else’s day simply by saying ‘well done’ or ‘many thanks’.

 
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