The Value of Appreciation and Acknowledgement
You might be shocked to know how significant acknowledgement and appreciation can be in someone’s life.
For all our talk of money being a motivating factor for people I would contend that we’re even more driven by the desire to be acknowledged and appreciated. In fact, I think that in many ways a salary is just an indicator to a part of our brain, that we are being acknowledged and appreciated. But there’s another level…
Recently a client wrote this to me:
“Why don’t you go ahead and contact him – I trust you.”
Did you catch that? “I. Trust. You.”
There is virtually no amount of money that can replace THAT. Trust is something you can’t buy (though some politicians might argue). Trust is something earned and what you can do with trust, in many ways far exceeds that which you can do with money.
This morning I awoke to this message in my inbox:
“Love your work!!! … Keep writing inspiring pieces”
I won’t ask you the rhetorical question of “how do you think that makes me feel about writing?” I’ll just tell you: it validates every word that I have ever written.
There will always be people that are purely motivated by money, and in truth I find that sad. I don’t think any amount of money can replace purpose, and when you are driven by purpose, acknowledgement and appreciation is what makes you rich.
As I build my company, I am keenly aware that how I pay my partners is important, but because the people I work with were brought on to do work that they love, I make sure that they always know how much I appreciate the work that they do, and acknowledge the skill and professionalism that they bring to the table.
As you go forth today and interact with people, try and make it a point to really acknowledge and appreciate someone for something. You might just change their entire day.
Why Lasting Change Is Hard
Before we had any children, my wife and I lived in the heart of Dallas. One day, on our way back to our house, we were driving down Skillman Avenue when we were caught in a sudden torrential downpour.
The rain was coming down incredibly hard, which wouldn’t have been a problem if the storm drains were equipped to handle that much water. Instead, the road itself filled with water faster than we could have anticipated. Quickly, the water rose up the side of our car. Trying not to panic, we realized that we could not continue and would need to turn around and get to higher ground.
Water rising up the side of your car door is the kind of roadblock you might not expect to encounter, but when you do, it’s formidable. We couldn’t drive through it or even around it. We had to deal with it quickly or face serious consequences.
When we’re trying to implement change in our own lives, it’s important to identify and plan for common roadblocks to lasting change.
The first and, in my opinion, most important roadblock to lasting change is not addressing the real issue.
Let’s say you wake up in the middle of the night with a sore throat. You’re annoyed by feeling sick but your throat really hurts, so you get up and spray a little Chloraseptic in your mouth and drift off to sleep. When you wake up the next day, you still have a sore throat, so you pop in a cough drop and go about your day.
The change you’re making – using a numbing agent – might work if you’ve only got a cold, but if it’s strep throat, you’re not addressing the real problem. Only an antibiotic will cure what ails you, even if Chloraseptic will keep the pain at bay for a while.
Just like how more information is needed to diagnose your sore throat than one feeling, problems you encounter in your life or business require diagnostics, too. Figuring out the real problem – not just your most apparent needs – requires some introspection and a little bit of time.
Here are eight questions to ask when you need to discover the root cause, courtesy of MindTools.com:
- What do you see happening?
- What are the specific symptoms?
- What proof do you have that the problem exists?
- How long has the problem existed?
- What is the impact of the problem?
- What sequence of events leads to the problem?
- What conditions allow the problem to occur?
- What other problems surround the occurrence of the central problem?
Once you have your answers to these key questions, you can’t stop there. Your vantage point is skewed from your own perspective. You’re going to want to ask someone else to evaluate the problem at hand with the same questions and then compare your answers.
If you and all of the partners at your firm have similar answers, you’ll know you’re on the right track. If you wind up with wildly different ideas, I suggest seeking the advice of someone outside your organization. Fresh eyes can make all the difference in understanding a problem.
I often talk about being ‘too close’ to understand. You’ve probably heard the illustration about a group of people standing by an elephant with blindfolds on, trying to describe what they’re experiencing. Depending on what part of the elephant you’re next to, you’re going to have different observations.
But someone outside of that elephant’s cage can clearly identify the elephant.
The first key to making a lasting change is to make sure you’ve addressed the real problem and are looking for authentic change.
Next time, we’ll address the second major roadblock to creating last change.
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