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2018-04-16 Issue 43 Fundamental Behavior 16 Provide Meaningful Appreciation
Play ball! The baseball season is upon us, and I look forward to catching an Atlanta Braves or a Macon Bacon game this summer. I always like it when the crowd does the ‘wave.’ I love watching it roll across the stadium. Everyone participates and it always makes me smile. I think we should start an ‘appreciation’ wave in the NCA, just like at the ballpark. It’s easy to do, and it is scientifically proven to be healthy AND contagious.
Scientists have proven that showing appreciation and feeling gratitude release dopamines in the brain. I do not understand the science, but basically dopamines are chemicals that make us feel good. We as humans pursue activities that cause dopamines to be released (see love, passion, desire, etc.). We then repeat those activities (for better or worse) to release more dopamines. Studies show that once people in an organization get that good feeling, they look for ways to feel that feeling again, which leads to more appreciation. This appreciation snowballs and results in teams performing better. They make more, they sell more, and they do it all more happily. One Harvard Business Review author called it a “virtuous cycle.” Does that sound familiar?
We have a mission to generate and maintain the Cycle of Goodness. What better way to do that than to practice meaningful appreciation? It can be as simple as a heartfelt pat on the back for a deserving co-worker. And anyone in the company can do it to anyone else; showing appreciation is not just for managers.
We spend a lot of time on problems in our everyday work. Things that are not going well tend to get most of the attention, especially from managers. We tend to take the things that work well for granted, when we should actually spend more time focused on what we are doing right and reinforcing those positive behaviors. Want to do something remarkable to start the wave? Drop an ‘appreciation bomb’ by writing someone a handwritten thank you note. It will blow their minds and will generate a huge wave of appreciation that will send virtuous ripples across the company and the community. Try it as an experiment, then let me know what happens (seriously – email@example.com).
YKK Corporation of America