Retail Observer

November 2014

The Retail Observer is an industry leading magazine for INDEPENDENT RETAILERS in Major Appliances, Consumer Electronics and Home Furnishings

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 43 of 67

RETAILOBSERVER.COM NOVEMBER 2014 44 Libby Wagner Culture Coach Libby Wagner, author of The Influencing Option: The Art of Building a Profit Culture in Business, works with clients to help them create and sustain Profit Cultures. RO I t's easy to think about gratitude and gratefulness during the holiday season. Most people I know love participating in family traditions, which might include food, football, traveling to grandmother's house and other Rockwellian snapshots. But sometimes these family events can also be stressful— high expectations, months of not communicating as you'd like, bouts of bad behavior from certain relatives. Often, a company or store feels a bit like a family, too. Some- times, it might feel tough mustering up something to be truly grateful about. However, gratitude is much more powerful if we practice it all year long, and not only on special occasions. In fact, gratitude has a very important place in your business for several reasons. Consider this: • It helps you focus on what's going well. Sometimes when we are the person who's responsible for growing the business, envisioning the strategy or even getting things done, it's very easy to diagnose what's ailing the business by focusing on what's wrong. It's not that we don't need to fix those things that aren't working (a marketing strategy that's falling flat, a process that actually doesn't work), but beginning by noticing what you are grateful for, what's working, actually has a lot of science behind its usefulness. The practice of Appreciative Inquiry ( has helped organizations and teams solve problems, come up with new solutions, and build upon your strengths. • It helps you learn from your successes and/or reinforce the behaviors you want to repeat. Often we are moving so quickly from one thing to the next, we don't take time to notice how we've been successful and what we've learned along the way. An After Action Review, commonly used by military organizations, asks questions about what happened, what went well, what was supposed to happen, etc.? That way, you can capture what went well and you can repeat it again, that way you can stop reinventing your successes each time around! Also, when communicating one-on-one with employees or colleagues, when you take time to demonstrate gratitude, with specificity, the other person is more likely to repeat that behavior again. For example, saying, "thanks so much for your support with that customer. I was worried the sale wasn't going to happen, but your research into the different product solutions allowed us to really provide great customer service and make the sale! " • It promotes good will. If you had a mother like my mother, we spent some time reviewing manners as I was growing up. Niceties like please and thank you are commonplace but people notice when they are absent. Demonstrating gratitude and gratefulness is the right thing to do. This is easy when you like the person, you like their performance or you are generally happy with them; however, those with whom you are you are frustrated need your gratitude, too. Rarely can we find someone who has no redeeming qualities and contributions. If you recognize them and do it sincerely (everyone can tell when you're not sincere or genuine, so don't bother), you actually strengthen trust and create a window for better communication, too. • It strengthens your attitude and resilience when things are challenging. The past several years have been challenging for many organizations. Higher costs, competing marketplace, layoffs or loss of business. It's tough to look squarely at some of those situations thinking, gee . . . this is great! But taking time to notice what's going well, what's working in the business, the people around you who are trying to do a good job and showing up every day... those are real things to be grateful for. Those are things that can help you maintain perspective and either come up with creative solutions or bounce back with resilience. This November, make a promise to practice gratitude all year long, make it part of the normal way of doing business and relating to others inside and outside your organization, and see the rewarding benefits you harvest! A CULTURE OF GRATITUDE ALL YEAR LONG

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Retail Observer - November 2014