Even though we all know it’s important, it seems like when work piles up and the schedule gets packed, acknowledging the successes of others is one of the first things to fall off the to-do list.

But what if by taking a few simple steps ahead of time you could make sure this didn’t happen? What if you were prepared so that when – not if, but when – someone does something well, you could acknowledge it appropriately?

One step I suggest is to keep a few stamped note cards with you in your desk, or in your suitcase if you travel as often as I do. Have a thank-you card and a blank note card or two handy so that when someone goes above and beyond you can acknowledge their deed.

In a world as plugged in as ours, it’s simple to send an email, make a phone call, or shoot a text. But a handwritten note is an unexpected way of saying thank you. It’s a small task that takes just a minute or two to complete, but it makes an enormous impact.

A year or so ago, I was working with a client in San Diego who implemented handwritten thank-you notes into his weekly routine. Each week he found himself on the hunt for an employee who completed a task or two with a high level of expertise, at a high level excellence, and with a high level of professionalism. At the end of the week this manager would take a minute or two to write a note of thanks and quietly deliver it to the employee.

He wrote one note a week for several months. He noticed a huge boost in energy and productivity after an employee received a note.

One week he neglected to write a note. On Monday morning, his office manager asked him quietly if he had forgotten. Apparently his team recognized that no note had been given and began to wonder. It was the talk of the office!

Although there had been no fanfare in the delivery, no huge production to recognize the employee of choice, this quiet act of acknowledgement had made an enormous impact.

His simple weekly exercise let his employees know, “I’m around, I notice the work you are doing, and I appreciate it.”

Preparing ahead of time and taking a moment to acknowledge the successes of the people around you doesn’t have to be done in a dramatic or over-the-top way. A simple handwritten thank you can make an enormous impact.

Whose contributions can you acknowledge this week?

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