Cultivating Appreciation

In Stephen Covey’s book, Everyday Greatness, he writes, “People with everyday greatness are quick to exhibit everyday gratitude. They do not take life or the kindness of others for granted. They are eager to say thanks and the first to express praise. Many have found the best sleeping pill comes from counting one’s blessings, naming them one by one.”

Recently I was working with a group of people who are striving to be more unified in their work. They, like many organizations, suffer from what is often referred to as siloing. The silo effect refers to an environment in which folks are independently working on their particular task with little or no connection to a larger vision or goal. Experience has taught me that at the core of silo functioning is a lack of understanding, and as such a lack of appreciation for the work of others.

As I facilitated an appreciation exercise with the group, I could see the dynamics shift from ‘my work’ to ‘our work’. More importantly, the entire energy of the group became more animated as they began to make connections, not only with their individual and collective work, but with each other.

I have learned that respect is the lifeblood of appreciation work. When we are seen by another, when we are valued by another, when interest is shown in us and that which is important to us we feel appreciated and we feel respected.

One of the hallmarks of the healthiest individuals and organizations I work with is an embodiment of appreciation. There is a clear, consistent, widespread culture of appreciation for the individual or team and the work they are engaged in. And as such, there exists a deep sense of respect for every person and the importance of what they contribute.

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. Gratitude can transform what we have into more than enough. Gratitude creates abundance.” William Arthur Ward

One of the longstanding traditions of many Thanksgiving tables I’ve been blessed to sit around is to share something I am grateful for. Imagine if we did that at every table we sit and with every person we encounter.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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