Last week I began a series of posts highlighting my “ten lessons from ten years in business.”  So far I’ve written about putting Values First, putting Yourself First, as well as two types of focus areas critical to success.

Today I want to highlight a critical, simple strategy – the importance and power of Thank You.  I have separated saying thank you from the broader concept of gratitude on purpose (I’ll address gratitude later in this series specifically).

The importance of saying thank you more often can best be seen from the perspective of the receiver.  When you do something well, something above and beyond what was asked, or even something small and simple that you are proud of, how important is it to you when someone notices and thanks you for the effort?  Two simple words are often all it takes to feel as if your contribution was recognized, accepted and appreciated.

Thank you can take numerous formats.  It can be spoken or written.  It can be in an email or hand-written.  It can accompany a request, precede it or follow it.  Or, better yet, all of the above.  You may feel as if you’re saying thank you too often, but I guarantee that isn’t possible.

Don’t assume that people know how much you appreciate them.  Don’t assume that one thank you means you’re off the hook for the next few opportunities.  Take advantage of each opportunity to reinforce, repeat and strengthen your expressed appreciation.

Earlier this year I designated Sheena as our internal Vice President of Thank You.  We try hard here to make “thank you” a daily and real-time habit, but things move quickly and it’s easy to let opportunities fall through the cracks.

Now, every Friday, Sheena shares her collection of thank you opportunities as reminders.  Sometimes it’s for a vendor who helped us in a pinch.  Or for our building managers spreading road salt quickly in the parking lot when rain turned to ice.  Or for someone internally who took extra time to help clean up from a team lunch.

No opportunity is too small to get noticed and recognized.

Saying thank you in almost every form costs you nothing but the return on investment is immeasurable.