Practicing Gratitude in Your Firm
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and it is a time when people are more inclined to share why they are grateful. This makes pleasant conversation over the holiday season, but giving thanks also has the potential to be even more impactful. Practicing gratitude in your firm can improve client relationships and firm culture, which leads to higher retention, more job satisfaction, repeat clients, and higher revenuew. Here are a few simple strategies on how to make the most of giving thanks.
The University of California, Berkley’s Greater Good Science Center website says the following about practicing gratitude:
Yes, “thank you” is an essential, everyday part of family dinners, trips to the store, business deals, and political negotiations. That might be why so many people have dismissed gratitude as simple, obvious, and unworthy of serious attention. But that’s starting to change. Recently scientists have begun to chart a course of research aimed at understanding gratitude and the circumstances in which it flourishes or diminishes. They’re finding that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:
Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure;
Higher levels of positive emotions;
More joy, optimism, and happiness;
Acting with more generosity and compassion;
Feeling less lonely and isolated.
While these benefits sound limited to personal applications, they can be translated into the following advantages your firm:
Firm-wide decrease in sick days, increased wellness and clarity
Positive work attitudes and increased cooperation
Improved client service
How can you start practicing gratitude in your firm?
Document and celebrate success
An important part of giving thanks is having a clear understanding of what you are thankful for. Quarterly game plans and updating your resume are two ways to help make practicing gratitude a habit in your firm while also contributing to the success of the firm and the individuals.
Did a team member complete a big project, or create a new process to increase productivity? Did the firm meet revenue goals, win a large account or receive an award or recognition? These are all reasons to give thanks that often go unrecognized. Successes can be more easily identified when you are in the habit of setting and reviewing both long and short-term goals. Quarterly game plans are a helpful tool for setting goals, reviewing progress and acknowledging accomplishments for individuals and the firm. The process is simple. Use a form like this to record what you would like to accomplish in the next quarter. At the end of the quarter, review your progress, share and celebrate achievements.
After you have used a 90-Day Game Plan to identify your achievements, it is time to update your resume. Resumes aren’t just for individuals. They can be modified to showcase firm knowledge and capabilities. Your firm’s unique accomplishments set you apart from competitors. Make sure your website is up to date with relevant and timely information and utilize social media to tout successes. These are great marketing tools that give potential clients a better understanding of your capabilities. Keeping them current helps to highlight successes and identify opportunities for gratitude.
Firm-Wide Community Service
Sharing your time and talents with others makes you more grateful for what you have. Periodically, the entire BCI staff spends time in our community. During these experiences, we become more aware of basic comforts that we take for granted. We have also become more thankful for our team as we work together to accomplish a goal for others. I encourage you to look for opportunities for your firm to serve in the community and get as many people involved as possible. In addition to increased community connection and exposure for the firm, you will likely get back more than expected.
Send Notes of Thanks
Perhaps the simplest way to show gratitude is to say thank you to both team members and clients. Send a quick email saying thank you to a coworker for something they did. While electronic methods are convenient, don’t underestimate the personal touch of a handwritten note. It takes just a moment to write a quick card to let someone know you appreciate their hard work day in and day out, but the extra effort it requires does not go unnoticed.
Documenting and celebrating success, participating in firm-wide community service and sending notes of thanks are just a few ways to practice gratitude in your firm. Making a commitment to these habits will create a culture that attracts and retains the best team members and clients.
As a consultant for Boomer Consulting, Inc., Arianna Campbell helps accounting firms challenge the status quo by leading process improvement initiatives that result in increased profitability and client satisfaction. She also facilitates the development and cultivation of future firm leaders in The P3 Leadership Academy™ Academy. Internally, she blends concepts from Lean Six Sigma and leadership development to drive innovation and continuous improvement within the company. Arianna also enjoys the opportunity to share knowledge through regular contributions to the Boomer Bulletin and other industry wide publications, as well as public speaking at industry conferences.