Ken Keller: Share Your Attitude of Gratitude

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In just a few days, once we celebrate Thanksgiving Day, the holiday shopping frenzy will be upon us. Some businesses are slowing down, wrapping things up and preparing for the next calendar year. Many companies remain busy, including retail establishments, restaurants, airlines, shipping companies and grocery outlets, working to ring up every possible sale, collect every dollar and end the year on a high note.

Whatever your thinking is about the last few weeks of the year, take a step back and a deep breath this week and be thankful for what you have and do. There is much to be grateful for, although it may not seem readily apparent.

We often take our good health for granted. Don’t. Those that have lost their health, or have been through health situations, understand this.

We also take our personal support network for granted. Nurture family, friends and neighbors. During tough times these are the people who will be there for you and you need to be there for them.

People in business have the bad habit of taking things for granted. Perhaps we have come so far so fast with our entitlement attitudes that we have forgotten just how much we truly have.

If you are working somewhere, be grateful for:

— Our spouses, significant others and family members who understand the demands of being employed. Having a job might mean arriving early in the morning, staying late, enduring a long commute, or having to work at all hours of the night and day as well as weekends and holidays. Work can be physically and mentally demanding; it might require distant travel and perhaps long trips that might mean missing important family events.

— Your employer, who meets payroll obligations on a regular basis. If you work for a company that provides you a paycheck, whether you work part time or full time, whether you are paid by commission, hourly or salaried, give thanks to that organization for paying you the money that puts a roof over your head, food in your refrigerator and makes sure the lights stay on so you can watch television at night when you come home.

— Clients and customers. Most companies have a client or customer or two that aren’t very nice to deal with. However, those folks pay their bills and those payments keep your company running.

Having a job means you have a place to go to work. It means that the lights, heat, air conditioning, computers, coffee maker, refrigerator and microwaves work. It means that you have office supplies and tools to help you do your work. It means a clean restroom to use and a place to eat lunch.

The company also pays suppliers for goods and services. Everyone should recognize the value of how business partners have worked with your employer on deliveries, billing and other special needs. Something as simple as a pen that you write with that came from the office supply cabinet can be traced back to the efforts of many people.

Thank the others on your team. Yes, there are some people who are not pleasant to deal with and others who aren’t as productive as they could be, but by and large, those that we work with share common goals and we should be grateful we are able to work side by side.

If you don’t want to be thankful for having others to work with, consider those that are out of work. Being out of work not only means not having a team to work with, but no paycheck to pay bills. The great uncertainty of having no idea as to when you will be earning a paycheck again is something no one ever wants to go through.

If you own or serve in a management role in a business, understand that your employees are, for all intents and purposes, volunteers. Yes, you pay them. But they need to be recognized and rewarded because they have more choices of where to work than ever before. No one is obligated or committed to work at a company where they are not appreciated or properly rewarded. As a leader, that needs to be one of your top responsibilities.

This Thanksgiving, we should all be grateful for what we have. An attitude of gratitude is a great thing to have and to share.

Ken Keller is a syndicated business columnist focused on the leadership needs of small and midsize closely held companies. Contact him at [email protected]. Keller’s column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of this media outlet.




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