In just a few short days, it will Thanksgiving Day, followed by the holiday shopping frenzy. Analysts predict this will be the best holiday shopping cycle for retailers in years. As we hit the first speed bump on the road to the end of the year, some businesses are already slowing down, wrapping things up and are preparing for a fast start in the next calendar year. Other companies remain busy, including those in retail, restaurants, airlines, shipping companies and grocery outlets, working to ring up every possible sale and collect every dollar to end the year on a high note. Whatever your perspective is about the last five weeks of the year, take a step back this week, take a deep breath and be thankful. Each of us has much to be grateful for, although it may not seem readily apparent. We often take our good health for granted. Don’t. Those who have lost their health, or have been through health situations understand this. I can attest to this personally. We also often take our human support network for granted. Nurture family, friends and neighbors. During the tough times these are the people who will be there for you. You need to be there for them. I’ve noticed that those in the business world have a bad habit of taking things for granted. Relationships with clients and business partners (suppliers and vendors) don’t evolve and don’t last unless nurtured. It’s a hot job market now, and good people won’t stay employed where they are if they are not well treated. If you are an employer, don’t take your biggest asset, your people, for granted. If you are working, be grateful for… … Spouses, significant others and family members who accept the demands placed on you for 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 out-of-town 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 the 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 supplies 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, just 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 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 an executive coach who works with small and midsize B2B company owners, CEOs and entrepreneurs. He facilitates formal top executive peer groups for business expansion, including revenue growth, improved internal efficiencies, and greater profitability. Please contact him at [email protected] Keller’s column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.