I had a client once who thought he had a problem with his front end staff. It’s easy to “point fingers” at others isn’t it? We’re not getting ahead because of my lame employees. I would be getting more customers if my front end people were trying harder. From my observation they were doing pretty well. I told him as much, but he continued to point out all the ways they were responsible for his unhappiness.
I gave him an exercise to complete. I had him keep a “gratitude journal” for his front end team. Every day for 3 months he logged at least one thing he appreciated about them, the way they interacted with his customers, the care they paid to the little details, all the times they showed up on time, or stayed late – whatever he could find. He looked for things his employees were doing that touched him, or revealed attributes, characteristics or qualities he appreciated. I had him write these things down secretly for 3 months. By the end of three months he had filled the entire journal.
When he gave it to them, they thought it was the best gift they had ever received from him – better than a raise, a bonus or more vacation time. The funny thing was that the person who had been most effected by the gift was him. All that journaling had forced him to focus on their positive aspects. He was constantly looking for all of the things they were “doing right”. That heartfelt focus overwhelmed anything he might of otherwise complained about and caused him to show up differently at work each day. That difference was transferred to the front end team and they gradually self-corrected using normal feedback. It was an incredible win/win!
Clint Best is a business coach and the founder of Kaizen Business Development in Kelowna, BC. Clint has been guiding forward thinking business owners through change and growth since 2002.