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Leadership Lessons – Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving—what are you thankful for?

It is special for us this year. I got a text from my son, who is a combat medic and had been deployed to Jordan and Kuwait for the past nine months, saying that he is back in the United States. What a joy it was to hear this. I’m waiting to hear if we can be together on Thanksgiving weekend.

Thanksgiving has always been so special for me. At 7 a.m., Thanksgiving morning 1973, my daughter was born. Hard to believe she turns 44 this year. This is also a special Thanksgiving as my youngest son, who had a double bypass in January this year, is doing great.

I believe that one of the reasons many people are so unhappy in their lives is that they continually look through the magnifying glass to reveal what is wrong with fill-in-the-blank. It can be our economy, our politicians, our family members, some of our friends, our industry, etc.  Seems some people are NEVER happy! They find fault with everyone and everything. I’m sure you can rattle off the names of at least five people you know who fit this description.

One of my fellow Dwyer Group presidents has the antidote for this. He grew up in a home of nine kids. He and his siblings had to say three things they were grateful for every night at dinner.  In addition, none of them could be repeated by another sibling. It caused at attitude of gratitude.   Today, in his weekly meetings, each member of his team has to share two positive things that happened the week before. He said it helped change the culture of his meetings.

One of our franchisees came to the U.S. from Syria. He was a very successful entrepreneur with a chocolate factory. He fled in 2010 during the bombings; the buildings today are just a shell.  The machines that made the chocolate are destroyed—he lost everything, but he’s grateful for the opportunity to start over in the U.S.

On Friday I had lunch with one of our franchisees who is a great Glass Doctor in North Pole, Alaska. He commented how delicious the food is in “the lower 48.” When I asked him why, he explained that fruits and vegetables arrive in Alaska by barge and are always a week old when they get to his grocery store. Fresh fruits and vegetables are something most of us take for granted.

Do yourself a favor this week. Every morning, ask your employees what they are thankful for.  Tell them you are going to celebrate Thanksgiving all week, and this is the way you are going to start doing it. Then let each of them know what you are thankful for. Create a magical week.  Happy Thanksgiving!

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