Here’s a question for you. How much gratitude do you, your team and the people within the organisation show? We’ve all seen gratitude journals – a prompt for us to take a few moments every day to be thankful for what we have in our lives. Some of us have even got one and written in it a few times, some, even made it a daily practice. But, from what I can see gratitude hasn’t yet found its place in our organisations.
The other day I was with a very senior team, not as their coach but to talk about their emerging talent and you could have cut the atmosphere with a knife. Nothing to do with me, I have to add, but everything to do with the team dynamic. And, before I had really engaged my brain, I had called it – as if some alien had picked me up and transported me back to my days as an exec team coach. Luckily – rather than showing me the door the CEO suggested I take 20 mins to help them sort it out. (Nothing like an impossible challenge to make a sales meeting go well!) But, seeing as I had already opened my mouth, I had a go. I asked each of them to name three things they were grateful for in relation to the business right now. What do you think happened? A number of them got angry. Two told me to stop wasting their time and one mentioned that any decent coach would get them to name the issues they were facing as opposed to getting pink and fluffy (yes, he actually said that). But I held my nerve and waited. Eventually, one seemingly timid lady spoke up. She said, “I am grateful for the bright committed people I work with each day, I love that I am developing my career in perfect direction for me and I will be eternally grateful for the health care cover that looked after my daughter this last year.” One by one they followed. You could have heard a pin drop in the room as phones and computers were put aside and every single one of them truly listened to each other probably, for the first time ever.
As they came to the end the whole dynamic in the room had changed. They were still and thoughtful. They carried on the meeting but now they were on the same side, their debate had a less aggressive air. One of the men said he had gained a different perspective. Another said how well they had done as a business to get to where they were and how lucky they were to be in their roles. I am not saying they transformed into a truly effective team, obviously that would take a lot more work, but I came away thinking that having a daily dose of organisational gratitude could be an amazing thing.