The Power Of Appreciation In Strategic Planning

In a wholesale distribution organization that I worked with last year, it was an incredible experience for the management team to look at what they had accomplished in the past year. The faces of every member of that team dropped in awe as they viewed 5 pages of their accomplishments over the past year. And while not every team experiences the effects of their accomplishments so pointedly I have yet to work with any team that did not get An incredible boost and sense of satisfaction out of having their accomplishments displayed so clearly.

If you can't give your employees the financial stake in your business that they would like, the next best thing is to provide a sense of ownership. Recognizing the quality, value, significance and magnitude of people's contributions to your organization can produce powerful results in performance, morale and efficiency.

Thomas White, President, GTE Telephone Operations said the following:

"If you combine a negative culture with all the challenges we face today, it would be easy to convince ourselves that we have too many problems to overcome -- to slip into a paralyzing sense of hopelessness. And yet if we flip the coin, we have so much to be excited about...We can if we just turn ourselves around and start looking at our jobs -- and ourselves -- differently; if we kill negative talk and celebrate our successes...In the long run, what is more likely to be more useful: Demoralizing a successful workforce by concentrating on their failures or helping them over their lasts few hurdles by building a bridge with their successes?"

In organizations as in human relationships it's the lack of communicating that kills us. We are either too busy, want to be polite, feel that nobody with the power will listen to us or there's nothing we can do about it anyway etc., to invest the energy to have these hard conversations. We've all heard the old maxim, "Insanity is doing something the same way and expecting a different result". Organizations that don't invest time to appreciate their successes and failures are engaging in insanity.

As Jinny Ditzler author of Your Best Year Yet says, "At the heart of most organizations is a group of overworked, over stressed and under appreciated people. But, as we've seen so often, when they are appreciated, they become confident and readily unleash new levels of creativity and productivity. Just like individuals, an organizations confidence and hope for the future is built by taking the time to enjoy successes."

It's valuable to the organization for people to feel that they are a part of what is going on. Adults get tired of having rules, strategies, missions or visions dictated to them without any sense of contributing to their creation.

By incorporating appreciation of the individuals, the business unit, and the organization in strategic planning we create a synergy contributing to the development of a plan that will produce high levels of commitment and buy in by the participants and the members of the organization that they represent. Whether it be strategic planning for a project, a team or an organization spending time to reflect on all that has been accomplished, gives people the opportunity to celebrate their successes and capture powerful synergy.

An organization that embraces the capacity to appreciate successes will quickly realize that appreciation isn't limited to an organization's success. By incorporating authentic experiences of appreciation of successes people are far more open to participating in discussing disappointments in an a forthcoming and accepting manner. If trust is the social capital of business organizations than the most important way to create trust is to share our appreciation for our disappointments as well as our successes with people in our organization who have a commitment to growing and learning to fulfill the organizations vision.


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