YKK Stories

2018-10-08 Issue 71 Fundamental Behavior 16 Provide Meaningful Appreciation

February 19, 2019
Author: YKK
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Living and working with other people is complicated, even challenging. But we humans are social animals and we need to operate in groups in order to survive and thrive. We are designed to be emotionally sensitive to verbal and non-verbal cues from others in our group. We wince when we get signals from others in the group that they are not totally satisfied with us. Likewise, we get giddy with joy when others in our group express gratitude for our work as part of the group. That appreciation makes us feel valued by the group, our role in it is validated, and we are fulfilled. When we are uplifted in this way, we respond by rededicating ourselves to the group and will work even harder for the group’s success. This is not a theory. It is a biological fact. This is also the Cycle of Goodness. Show honest and meaningful appreciation for someone’s work and they will work even harder for our success.

Some of my favorite memories over the last year have been of the various Core Values Awards ceremonies we have conducted throughout the region. Many of these are truly inspiring and touching events. I had the honor of awarding YKK Colombia’s Diana Moncada her Core Values Award earlier this year. It was wonderful to see every available employee in attendance on the shop floor. Her manager had many great things to say about her commitment to YKK, our Philosophy, and our Core Values. Her co-workers got into the spirit and added to the presentation their own words of appreciation for Diana’s work. Diana then responded by expressing her gratitude for her co-workers. All of us, not just Diana, left the presentation energized and excited to fulfill the mission of our Philosophy and Core Values even more. I was grateful to be there.

The Core Values Awards come around every year and provide unique opportunities to celebrate the wonderful efforts of those who are guided by our Core Values. The nomination process will start again in a couple of months and I hope you nominate one (or more) of your co-workers.
But you do not need a once-a-year formal ceremony to generate the same positive results. In fact, you can get the same results by simply going up to one of your co-workers and showing them some honest appreciation. Here are some tips on perfecting the art of providing meaningful appreciation.

1. Do NOT be fancy – You do not need a ceremony; it can be an informal exchange in the hallway.

2. Be timely – It is best to express appreciation soon after the appreciated work is done.

3. Surprise them – It can be even more impactful if they are not expecting to hear from you.

4. Make it personal – Be specific about what they did that made you feel appreciative.

5. Be real – Try to express it with true feeling – the power is in your sincerity.

6. Do it in person (if possible) – Remember, we are genetically designed to read eyes and body language, so face to face appreciation is most powerful.

7. Say what you are appreciative for – Tell them what their work meant to you personally and how it impacts your work or life personally. Make the connection and close the loop.

Plaques are great, and ceremonies give us a forum to express appreciation and celebrate our culture, but they are not necessary to generate the powerful positive feedback loop of appreciation. You simply have to do it and be real about it, and you will make life better for at least two people, you and them.

Jim Reed


YKK Corporation of America