Projects by their very nature are often more like a marathon than a sprint.
Having water stations along the way in a race creates smaller milestones to look towards and keeps everyone hydrated and less likely to quit from exhaustion.
In projects, every win, every milestone, every little bit of progress should be acknowledged in some way. It helps to build momentum, keep everyone engaged and less likely to quit from exhaustion.
It doesn’t mean that the whole project has to be one long pep rally, but it’s important to keep the focus on what has been achieved and on making sure that positive acknowledgement of those achievements is shared.
Small, frequent acknowledgements are better than keeping it until the end.
Acknowledging contribution and showing that you’re grateful, shows acceptance and builds trust within the team, too.
We start our internal meetings with a win for the week or gratitude. It’s a really good way to create a positive footing on which to start the conversation.
In positive psychology, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness, greater physical health, better sleep, greater resilience and a host of other benefits.
“Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”
Expressing gratitude to your team for their efforts helps to build motivation and engagement with the task at hand.
Laura Trice has a short TED Talk on the power of thank you, and of asking to be thanked the way that you would like to be, she is all about making it specific and genuine. She shares a lovely analogy about ‘truing’ the wheels on her bike and how this made the bike feel like new.
She shares a challenging idea that we can shape the way we are praised and thanked.
True your Wheels, be honest about the praise you need to hear. ~ Laura Trice
What’s refreshing about this approach is that it puts you back in the driver’s seat (being at cause of your own acknowledgements).
I try to acknowledge and thank people the way I would like to be thanked.
How to say thank you
If you’re short on ideas on how to say ‘thank you’ here are a few:
- You could send flowers.
- You can write a card or an email, and when you’re writing a card or an email, you really need to be specific about what it is that you’re grateful for.
- You can make a video.
- You can call out the person who’s put in the extra effort and praise them in front of a group.
- You can buy them a chocolate bar or a coffee (or their beverage of choice) and just acknowledge the work that’s been done.
- You can just say that you’re really grateful to have that person on board.
These are just a few expressions of gratitude.
None of them requires a whole marching band or even a great deal of planning. The most important thing that you can bring to a thank you, that makes it memorable and powerful, is being authentic, which means you need to take some time out to think about it a little and reflect.
When I have done this, it has always been that I have felt newly grateful for the person in question and their contribution. And that is something to be thankful for.
And when someone thanks you
I have a folder that I set up a few years ago, it contains compliments and thanks that I have received.
Every now and then, when things seem to be going off the rails and when the series of plans we’ve made and re-made is not working – I read through these compliments and thanks, and I’m reminded of the positives that I have contributed and the differences that I have made.
It’s a wonderful way of lifting my mood and often prompts me to reconnect or say hello to people that I may not have spoken to for a while.
Some of the messages are personal, and some are more business and project-focused.
I’ve been thanked for things that to me, seemed like very little, but to the other person made a difference. You never know what a thank you or a compliment can mean to someone else, so be generous with them.
With that in mind, thank you….for listening, for sharing and for being part of the conversation about projects, life and everything.
If you’ve received a wonderful thank you, I’d love to hear about it and what made it special.