Chester Elton is an author, motivational speaker and a workplace expert. He believes that when people leave their jobs more times than not it has nothing to do with the money, it has to do with not feeling valued and appreciated. He says that in the workplace, and society as a whole, we are quick to criticize and slow to praise. When we make a mistake it's recognized 100% of the time and when we do something great we are not recognized 100% of the time. Nobody feels over valued at work, or typically for that matter at home either. How often have you felt over valued at your work or home?
He gave a wonderful example of a daily practice that an effective manager does everyday. He calls it the 10 pennies practice. Every morning this manager starts out by putting 10 pennies in his left pocket. His intention is to have 10 positive interactions or acts of appreciation throughout the day. He would keep track of how many he had by moving a penny from his left pocket to his right pocket after each positive interaction. He accomplished his interactions either in person, through an email or text message, or with a phone call. What an awesome reminder to have pennies of positivity and appreciation jiggling around in your pocket as a gentle reminder of your intention for the day.
Some days we might get 10 of these positive interactions in without hardly trying. On other days it might be easy to move through the day and maybe only have 2 or 3. I like the idea of having a way to keep the intention in our awareness through the pennies in the pocket. Wouldn't it be an awesome world if we all carried 10 pennies and consciously worked each day to create 10 positive/appreciative interactions with our fellow humankind?
Chester Elton also noted that there is a difference between praising effort and rewarding results. He says that we need people to cheer for us when things are not going great more than when things are going great. Sharing encouraging words when there is a struggle and celebrating the small wins along the way will go a long way toward keeping momentum going in the right direction. People end up feeling supported and valued along the way.
I also loved his suggestion for how to deal with a challenging leader within your workplace that you wish you could change. He says that the answer is to value and appreciate them. Then you can ask, "How did that make you feel?" Share with them that your team deserves to feel that same way too.
I invite all of us to practice ramping up our positive interactions and acts of appreciation this week. Try the 10 pennies practice or think up some other creative way to keep the intention in your awareness and keep track of your progress. We can all use feeling more valued and appreciated at home and in the workplace. Give it a shot and let me know how it goes!