The Gray Area


The power of recognition and appreciation in business

Abraham Maslow, the father of modern management psychology and creator of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, explored at length what motivates people. At the top of his pyramid of needs is self-actualization, or contributing to something worthwhile. Over the years, others who have explored this theory, including Stuart Levine, former CEO of the Dale Carnegie Institute, have found that “people work for money, but go the extra mile for recognition, praise, and rewards.”

Resolutions and goals for 2013

The new year is on the horizon. It’s time to reflect on the past 12 months to see what worked and what didn’t, and it’s possible to look at reinventing the way your company operates so you can find greater success in the coming year.

Getting all the cows and chickens out

A long time ago I heard a story about cows and chickens that goes like this: An old farm couple was arguing about needing more room in their house (some days most women can relate to this), so the husband started bringing some cows – and chickens and other farm animals – into the house. One day, the wife couldn’t stand it any longer and she threatened to leave.

What’s for dinner?

My husband, Dave, and I enjoy dining with friends, whether in their homes or in area restaurants that we all can enjoy. I’m a high-maintenance gal! I have food challenges. I’m allergic to garlic, salmon, and clams and very sensitive to certain spices, like pepper, that others take for granted to spice up a meal.

Being thankful

I keep a gratitude journal, which many times will include notes about a good business experience. Especially at this time of year, even with the economic challenges all around us, we can make a conscious choice to focus on life’s blessings, rather than its shortcomings.

Gratitude and appreciation

Mother Teresa said, “There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.” Here in the U.S., the month of November brings Thanksgiving, and that holiday brings thoughts of gratitude to the top of the mind for many of us.

Caring about our customers

How many of us love to get surprises? I’ll admit that finding a surprise in a shopping bag is like finding the surprise in a Cracker Jack box. It’s lagniappe. The word “lagniappe” is derived from the Louisiana French. It means “something that is added, a little something extra” in the form of a small thank-you gift given to a customer by a merchant at the time of purchase – like the 13th doughnut you get when you buy a dozen. This little gesture has traditionally told customers they are appreciated.

Getting the mojo back

A couple of years ago, my husband, Dave, and I, by accident, were shopping at a supermarket during a double-coupon sale. The store was very crowded. It was difficult to maneuver carts through the narrow aisles, shoppers were kind of grumpy, and just when I thought I’d seen it all, along comes a very senior citizen in a running suit with a jacket that read “Local Racing Team.”

Delivering really good service

Recently, my husband, Dave, and I were in the market for new bedding. It seemed like the last time we upgraded was too long ago to discuss. As usual, I did my homework, looking for the right sheets for a good night’s sleep, and almost everyone I asked told me to get 100% Egyptian cotton. In fact, two different salespeople, who were distracted with personal chatter, told me, “It’s the best!”

Do you have the vision?

Recently, I sat next to a very successful business and life coach at a meeting. What an “eye-opening” conversation we had! She showed me a picture of her “Vision Board,” on which she posts pictures and meaningful pieces to remind her of her goals, both business and personal. She has this in a prominent area of her home office so she can see it at all times, and she carries the picture in her purse. This goal stimulus helps her to keep on track, to shoot for the moon for the things she wants, and to keep all her dreams at the top of her mind.

Donna M. Gray, CRM, is the owner of Total Awards & Promotions/, Madison.

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