Friday, July 29, 2011

Lean Quote: Appreciation - It's Free and Worth a Fortune

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Appreciate everything your associates do for the business. Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They're absolutely free and worth a fortune." — Sam Walton


Many organizations say that their most valuable resource is their people; but they struggle to recognize the. Business success has never occurred without people and yet people are often treated as an asset of lesser class than the equipment. Put another way, no company can exist without it’s people. Today’s workplace relies on employee thinking, commitment and engagement for success; employees who are celebrated and regularly thanked for their contributions, consistently contribute more, out-perform others and are more loyal. Besides being the right thing to do personally, it’s also great for business.

Consider these three ways to thank and celebrate your employees:

1. Take the time to talk to, and get to know, your employees. The most significant way to thank your employees is to get to know them. Take them to lunch or schedule time to ask about their values, hobbies, and interests. Understand your employees. Use what you now know about them to build a customized skills-improvement performance plan. Spend time with, and become interested in, each of your employees.

2. Ask employees what they think. The best way to feel appreciated is to be included – to feel that your perspectives matter. In a Lean environment, we need input from all of our employees to be successful. Including employees in company issues, challenges, and opportunities empowers them, engages them, and connects them to strategy and vision of the company.

3. Say thank you, and mean it. Most managers actually do thank employees who do great work. Employees work for more than money. They work for the praise and acknowledgement of their managers. A sincere thank you, said at the time of a specific event that warrants the applause, is one of the most effective ways to appreciate employees. Remember the phrase, “What gets rewarded, gets repeated.” Start to say “thank you” or “I appreciate what you do” when it is deserved and it will inspire the behaviors to continue. Make it personal and sincere. Catch employees doing great things and respond. It empowers them, appreciates them, and celebrates their performance.

Appreciating and thanking your employees isn’t hard or costly. So take the time to make a difference in your employee’s life. You will be pleasantly rewarded by them making a difference in yours.



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