The Positive Feedback Loop – saying Thank You

What does gratitude have to do with good business practices?

You know what’s taken for granted and often quite undervalued? Saying, “thank you.” When we hear it often, it’s almost invisible and trite. Yet, the moment it’s missing; oh, it’s quite noticeable. Especially when it really doesn’t cost much to begin with and even more so when it’s needed the most. What would you say it costs to say, “thank you?” Two syllables? A minute out of a day? Ten to twenty minutes for a video message? A half hour for a holiday gift? What is the cost of not saying thank you? It could be a moment that you never get back. An action that you regret not taking. It could make all the difference in an employee’s, business partner’s, or friend’s decision to stay or to go. The idea is that if you mean “thank you” when you say it, and you keep the Positive Feedback Loop going, then you not only have a great shot at them staying but also a possibility for a beautiful relationship.

“Thank you” is an expression of gratitude. Saying “thank you” is you giving and receiving at the exact same time, a very rare and valuable thing indeed. Saying “thank you” is how we as human beings show: appreciation, acknowledgement, relief, respect, acceptance, understanding, and awareness. Saying “thank you” is one of the few ways that you can slow down time, even when you’re in a rush. This is something that Jason Loeb is acutely familiar with. “Being aware” or present to key moments is vital in business. Being open to receiving the preciousness of a moment, an opportunity in a business dealing, a lesson, or a mistake is even more important. In the end, even when some thinking or reflection is required, getting to “thank you” is always worth it. It is often a pre-requisite to experience what is being given. Strive to be the recipient that the giver is hoping you will be and receive what they are giving.

Business Leaders and saying “thank you”:

As business leaders, we want to use “thank you” as the building block upon which a Positive Feedback Loop can be built. For example, motivating employees is often a huge focal point of any business leader. Many employees are motivated by a myriad of various factors. One thing is certain though: despite whatever the main motivating factors in increasing any single employee’s will power may be, “thank you” is what keeps the momentum going. When an employee’s been feeling unmotivated, unseen, undervalued, or forgotten, it is “thank you” that reignites their fire to perform. It is “thank you” that makes you both feel connected to each other. Above all, Jason is a people person that builds relationships. He sees people on a human scale and on human terms. This is why so many at Sudsies perform to their utmost and ultimate abilities. Expressing thanks is a huge part of it. A lynchpin, in fact. It is a core tenant.

So how, as a business leader, could you show thanks? Well, saying “thank you” could be as simple as saying the words themselves or maybe you say “thank you” by sending an employee to a seminar (to up-level their skill set). It could be said with a raise or a promotion. It could be shown by funding or investing in an employee’s education. It could be shared with some gear or merchandise. Getting creative with how you say or show thanks to your team or to an individual employee, will only help to increase the impact. Aim to make it memorable. Strive to make it heartfelt.

Saying “thank you” is also what could ultimately set you apart from other employers or competitors. It’s what could make you a better human being. As Sir Richard Branson famously said, “Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” You must mean it when you say, “thank you”. It can’t be fake because if it is anything but purely authentic, then this too will be felt. It also would defeat the purpose here. Saying “thank you” and being “people centric” is what allowed Jason to transform his business from just another dry-cleaning business into the behemoth that is Sudsies.

Think about it: have you ever had bad or good service from a waiter? What made all the difference? It was most likely their professionalism, kindness, gratitude, and efficiency, wasn’t it?  You felt seen, as you sat at your table. You felt heard. You were attended to. You weren’t taken for granted. This is what gratitude and pausing to say “thank you” in business or everyday life is all about.

The Effect of “thank you” and its myriad of forms:

One could say “thank you” in a myriad of situations and it means being open all the same. Good or bad, we say thank you for the tough lesson learned, we say thank you for the greater of two outcomes achieved, and we say “thank you” even when we’re glad we received the lesser of two evils. Use “thank you” to re-frame the experiences with which you are dealt, in your business journey, in a positive light. Don’t say “thank you” and you run the risk of perpetuating a negative feedback loop instead of a positive one.

It could be one filled with arrogance, criticism, pessimism, negativity, lack of gratitude; all, ultimately, pushing people away. Taking time to be open to a moment or an interaction with enough awareness to say “thank you” is what keeps a positive feedback loop going. It’s also what allows you to control your space and influence an environment, so negativity is kept at bay. Think of it as a protective force field. You cannot be angry when you are authentically giving thanks. You can’t be narrow minded when you are saying “thank you” in a heartfelt way. These are two words that make an impact, when they are meant.

As human beings, we often give what we receive and receive what we give. Next time you are going through a rough patch or a tough quarter, step away for a moment. Forget the annual projections and just say “thank you” to family and friends (with a smile and your time), to employees (with a special acknowledgement lunch), to partners (with a holiday gift), or to peers (with an email, video, or phone call). Show how much you care by emphasizing that their time, energy, achievements, contributions, and sacrifices don’t go unnoticed.

A personalized “thank you” note from Tiffany’s:

As a C-Suite executive illustrates in an experience he had with Tiffany & Co and Christine Forrest, saying “thank you” can turn someone into a lifelong customer. It can also be the simple start to a beautiful relationship. Weeks after making a purchase at Tiffany’s, this C-Suite executive was pleasantly surprised to receive a hand-written note from Christine herself (an unusual occurrence in American business settings for sure) thanking him for his patronage. The gesture was so heartfelt when it was received that it made an immediate impact. Taking the time out of one’s day to hand write a personalized “thank you” note makes a difference. This was the catalyst that inspired the C-Suite executive to highly recommend Tiffany’s at every opportunity and chance he got.

His perspective on the brand and the emotion behind Christine’s gesture was felt. It was the start of a Positive Feedback Loop. So much so that later, after searching for a very rare wristwatch (a rare collector’s item that was even impossible to locate in Switzerland), this C-Suite executive reached out to Tiffany’s. Not only did they have the watch in a private collection at their 5th avenue location, but they made the necessary arrangements and five days later he had the watch. A heartfelt “thank you” can often be the beginning of rapport being built into a beautiful relationship.

You never know how saying “thank you” can break through the momentum or routine of someone’s day. It may just be the “snap out of it” moment they need to get back on track or to refocus on what matters most to them. “Thank you” is the currency of peer-to-peer connection and the essence of what is within humanity. In business, no matter the industry or sector, you will encounter good news and bad news, but saying “thank you” is how you can stay steady and balanced while you traverse across the wild terrain. In business, you need a tool that you can use when you need to reframe your perspective and “thank you” can be that tool (with which you are always at your best).

Saying “thank you” and the Positive Feedback Loop

It feels good to say “thank you” because we are expressing our ability to receive and give value. So, what is a Positive Feedback Loop? In essence, it is an exchange of value. Positive value, in fact. “Thank you” is the fabric that makes such an exchange possible. Without “thank you” we are just point A and point B. Two separate people that may as well be islands in passing. We need to acknowledge each other.

By saying “thank you” we not only build the fabric that makes a Positive Feedback Loop possible, but we also allow room for human error, growth, improvement, humbleness, and possibility. There is only one way to go after saying “thank you” and that is up. Everyone loves to be appreciated and acknowledged.

While recently attending a large tradeshow in Canada, Jason inspired Kathy Benzinger from Benzinger’s Clothing Care in Boston, Massachusetts to take action! She sent us this wonderful video message below:

Thank you so much Kathy for the kind words and have an amazing year ahead!

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