Thank-You Thursdays (#TYT)

I've decided to start a new campaign: "Thank-You Thursdays". Each week, I will block time on my calendar to simply say, "thank you". Will you join me?

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” -William Arthur Ward

Thank-You ThursdaysI am recruiting folks with gratitude in need of sharing and hope you will join us. You see, I recently realized I had not thanked our project team for too long. As a result, I cleared my calendar for a while and wrote several, sincere notes of gratitude. The response, as you might expect, was great. Some needed the reassurance their efforts were valued and others simply appreciated that I had taken the few minutes to say, “thanks”. To avoid letting too much time pass again and to help others avoid the same, I’ve decided to start a new campaign: “Thank-You Thursdays”. Each week, I will block time on my calendar to simply say, “thank you”. My hope is that others will join me in this campaign.

Why Thursdays?

There are seven days a week to thank others and we should use them all. So why specifically highlight Thursdays?

1. It’s Catchy: ” Thank-You Thursdays” is catchy, so we’re more likely to remember it.

2. Time to Reflect: We will have most of the business week from which to identify contributions.

3. Before the Weekend: The messages are likely to be read before the weekend, supporting timely feedback.

4. Minimize Disruptions: Thursdays avoid any 3 and most 4 day weekends.

5. Morale Boost: Sometimes, we just need that boost to get us through Friday.

Who to Thank?

I realize we should thank anyone that has a positive impact on us, our organizations, our families or other stake holders. Yet sometimes we only think of the most obvious and direct contacts. Here are some reminders I developed to build a list of thank you recipients:

1. Direct Reports: Your team should be thanked frequently.

2. Peers: Team members in the organization. Independent? Consider your professional network.

3. Bosses: Present or past, as well as any mentors you may have.

4. Customers: Anyone who ultimately “buys” (literally or figuratively) your product or service.

5. Family: When was the last time you thanked your spouse, parents, children or siblings for all they do?

6. Companies: Is there a product or service you particularly like? Did you ever send them a thank-you note?

7. Non-Profits: Many NPO employees and volunteers work harder, for less. They deserve our gratitude.

8. Representatives: Have you thanked your politician today? What about local government workers?

9. Professionals: Accountants, Doctors, Teachers, even Lawyers and other certified professionals all deserve thanks.

10. Service Men & Woman: Have you thanked someone in the military recently? What about police officers or firefighters?

How to Say Thank You

Most of us have a variety of ways in which we can say, “thanks”. The best choice is probably to mix it up, especially so the same person does not receive the same method too frequently. Here’s a short list of free and relatively inexpensive options to consider:

1. In Person: Many people believe the face-to-face, direct thank-you is best.

2. Email: The most common method and likely the one I will use most. Consider copying their boss.

3. Chat: Instant messaging is good, real-time feedback, without having to be face-to-face.

4. Meetings: If you’re in a meeting with people you want to thank, add a slide or speak to your gratitude.

5. Twitter / Social Media: Most people like public recognition, social media is a great  “anytime” platform for public recognition (we’ll use #TYT to highlight our campaign).

6. Certificates: Printable certificates are available online and enable recipients to retain and display your gratitude.

7. eCards: Electronic cards are simple, yet creative ways to share your thanks.

8. Cards: Traditional, hand written notes are increasingly rare and appreciated. Try keeping a box in your desk.

9. Flowers: Having a bouquet of flowers delivered is a great way to communicate and display your gratitude.

10. Meal: Why not take them to lunch or treat the team to a pizza? Can’t meet in person? Send a gift certificate.

Frequency

The best feedback is frequent, so we should say, “thank you” as often as possible. However, here’s a couple guidelines to help frame the frequency:

1. Frequent but Meaningful: Yes, you should say, “thank you” often, but not so often that it becomes meaningless. Make sure the gratitude is sincere and not concocted.

2. Degree of Interaction: If it is a member of your team, you should thank them more often because, chances are, they are doing more for you and the organization on a regular basis.

3. Avoid Routine: Not to contradict the weekly Thursday intent, the idea here is not to necessarily thank the same person, every week, at the same time. For individuals you thank regularly, don’t always wait until Thursday to share it – mix it up.

I’ve never been perfect about showing gratitude, nor do I think “Thank-You Thursdays” will make me perfect at this practice. However, I do think it will help me and I hope it will help you. Won’t you join the campaign for Thank-You Thursdays? Thank someone now.

Questions: How do you say “thank you”? What’s the best way someone thanked you?

4. Social Media – Most people like public recognition, thanking them on a social media platform you share is a great opportunity for this.

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Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner is the founder and principal of Modern Servant Leader and Radiant Forest, LLC. He has studied and promoted servant leadership awareness and adoption for over 20 years. He is the author of 2 leadership books and has 2 decades of corporate management and leadership experience. His corporate experience spans CIO, VP, Director, and many management roles at Fortune 500, INC 500, and Nonprofits. Ben’s education includes a B.S. in Management Science & Information Systems from Penn State University and an MBA from Lehigh University. Ben's Full Profile Here: About Ben Lichtenwalner

21 thoughts on “Thank-You Thursdays (#TYT)”

  1. I agree – this is a really great idea, and I plan on doing it starting with this coming week (since I missed it this week).

    One word of caution though – You mention 'Frequently but Meaningful'. That's a really tricky spot IMHO. I hear a million 'thank you' comments a day as a desktop guy. I feel like maybe 3 are meaningful. It's really easy to get into the habit of thanking people out of some kind of reflex. The critical thing is to make sure that people feel that it's genuine.

    1. Well put. I've experienced, many times myself, that feeling of not really believing the gratitude. In fact, when perceived as insincere, the message could actually have an alienating effect. So I guess the key point here is, don't say thank you unless you really mean it.

  2. Hello Ben… what a wonderful idea and reminder! I say "Thank you" with deep eye contact, heartfelt sincerity, and great specificity of what the "gift" meant to me. To that I add specific characteristics of the person that I love and value. Keep up the great work and by the way, thank *you*! I appreciate your dedication to Servant Leadership and how you generously collaborate with others to forward the cause. 🙂

  3. I love it. I saw that you started this campaign a while ago, but I just started it this week in my world. It's been very rewarding for both the thankers and the thankees. 🙂

    Thank YOU for starting this! It's really powerful and beautiful.

    1. Thanks Jill – I'm glad your network is sharing and valuing it. Not sure I can take credit for being the first (I'm sure someone thought of this before me) – just pushing it hard each week & praying it catches on for others. Thank you for being a part of the #TYT team!

  4. I introduced this idea to my leadership team as a way of extending customer service appreciation week throughout the year. I will also be posting a #TYT blog post (http://beingfullypresent.com) and tweet each Thursday. Several of my team have also agreed to the idea. Thank you for the inspiration!

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