7 New Year’s Resolutions for Grateful (and Potentially Grateful) Leaders


if_not_now_2beditedTraditionally, the idea of a “meeting” is to gather a group for a specific purpose, whether it be business-related or otherwise. But let’s be honest…attention is not always 100%. Some people check and send text messages (I feel these people need forgiveness and behavioral therapy, if not recovery programs), others daydream or think of shopping lists, and some, like artist Michael Indorato, sketch.

During a recent meeting, Michael’s unconscious heard the words “if not now, then when?” Almost immediately, his artistic spirit was moved and inspired to create the drawing you see to the left. I happened to see his sketch at the end of the very same meeting, and asked him if he thought it could apply to Acknowledgment. To my delight, he was in total alignment with this, and added that heading to the sketch for all of us to consider and (hopefully) take to heart.

I truly believe that as 2013 ends and the New Year approaches, we MUST take this message to heart. In fact, I believe it is the cornerstone of the following 7 New Year’s Resolutions for Grateful (or Potentially Grateful) Leaders. So here they are:

Finding a Platform for Our Passion … and Being Grateful For It


A few years ago, our publishing team was trying to find the right title for the book that McGraw-Hill and IIL were co-publishing about acknowledgment. All of my previous training work and speaking engagements had been titled “Leadership and the Power of Acknowledgment,” based on the first book, The Power of Acknowledgment. Because of this, I quite naturally assumed it would also become the title of the next book. However, when the suggestion of Grateful Leadership was thrown into the ring, goose bumps shot from my head to my toes. That, for me, was the Truth Test. I knew it was right and jumped on it!

gratefulSo what do you do when you think you have a perfect title? Of course, you Google it. Admittedly, I did so with my eyes partially closed, because I didn’t want to see the zillions of books, articles, blog posts, etc. with those words in them. I didn’t want to have to give up on it. But imagine my shock (and delight) to have gotten what is known as a “Googlewhack”—a “Google search query consisting of exactly two words without quotation marks, that returns exactly one hit,” as Wikipedia puts it. It was a NASA blog post about how people should remember to be grateful leaders on Thanksgiving! Following this, Grateful Leadership was happily accepted by the IIL team and McGraw-Hill.

What is the Connection Between Grateful Leadership/Grateful Employees and Project Management?


boothThis post is based on one of the questions I received during the live Q&A following my keynote address, From Great Kids to Grateful Leaders, at IIL’s International Project Management Day (IPMDay). The question was asked by Megan Mason of Comcast. There were about 2,500 people present for that live follow up to the pre-recorded program, with — based on registrations — a potential audience of about another 60,000!

I want to present some delightful evidence of the way in which Grateful Leadership leads to Grateful Employees supporting project success. Here’s is how I answered Megan’s question during the live Q&A:

Gratitude, appreciation and acknowledgment are essential for maximum project team performance. When people don’t experience being valued they are often not motivated to do their best. They remain unengaged or even worse, disengaged (according to the Gallup Organization categories).

I like to make the evidence for this as tangible and as real as possible. Therefore, I cited the huge amount of work that a multitude of IIL teams perform each and every year to bring you International Project Management Day. The work starts about a week after the previous event, meaning now our people have about three days and counting to start planning International Project Management Day 2014, and always with both great success stories and the lessons learned.

All along the way, our people get acknowledged for their contributions, cheered for their successes, and even congratulated for their risk taking. So in this spirit, I want to share the delightful poem that was sent around to all team members on every IIL project team that created such a phenomenal project success this year. With the permission of Lori Milhaven, Executive Vice President, Marketing, I now share it proudly with you! Thanks, Lori!

Pebbles in a Pond…


NANA-LogoI often tell the people both at conferences and in IIL’s Grateful Leadership classes that when you acknowledge someone it is like throwing pebbles in a pond: you have absolutely no idea how far the ripples will go! We saw a living, breathing, powerful demonstration of this during the sessions I recently led for 450 managers at the NANA Development Corporation, headquartered in Anchorage, Alaska.

All of the participants in the class had received the eBook of Grateful Leadership, thanks to the generosity of the company. One of the managers, Ken Weber, told the class that he had read half the book that morning, which led him to take an action he would otherwise not have taken. He shared with the class the note he wrote to Customer Service at the National Safety Council. Here it is, with his permission:

Chocolate Pizza and Lots of Acknowledgment!


PoA For Kids Signing Pic 1

Chocolate pizza? Well, what else do you serve to a group of kid contributors at a book launch/signing?! Other than a bucket of acknowledgments for the great job they did, of course!

Last week, IIL Publishing officially released the long-awaited kids’ book, You’re Totally Awesome! The Power of Acknowledgment for Kids, and everyone had a ball!

The book came into being as a result of how quickly I saw these kids put the concept of acknowledgment into action after it was explained to them. Once they realized it holds the power to make their friendships, their schools and their sports teams – in short, the world – a better place, they wanted to participate!

Wonderful Things Happen in Unusual Ways! So Be Ready!


Diana Rodriguez

I was at the Nyack Post Office, mailing a copy of “Grateful Leadership” to a wonderful executive coach in the UK, Jane Morgan. I really wanted to get the book to her in good shape. As she had coached me through the challenging “birth” of this book, I felt an immense sense of gratitude toward her.

So there I was giving the book to the postal worker, who looked at it and said, “Wow! This book looks really interesting! I would love to read it.” She seemed so sincere that I gave her my card and told her if she sent me an email, I would send her a PDF file of the book for her reading pleasure. Then she told me that she wanted to read it for a course she was taking in Organizational Management at Nyack College.

I often make this offer to people who show an interest, but rarely do I get that follow up email that enables me to give them IIL’s gift. Diana Rodriguez did email me, and right away I sent her the file of the manuscript. Next thing I know, she has put together a presentation for her class about Grateful Leadership, which she shared with me for my approval. I thought it so lovely that I want to share it with you. I am honored to have a new proponent of “Grateful Leadership” and “The Power of Acknowledgment” who came from this “chance” encounter.

I don’t really believe there are any “accidents” in the universe – things happen out of our intention. So thank you, Diana, for INTENDING for us to meet and share this work. I have been told that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. I am honored and grateful to be one of your “teachers.”

Here is a link to Diana’s delightful presentation. I am thrilled to share it with you. 

The Greatest Acknowledgments Come in Many Forms


JudyLilith 2Last week, I had the great pleasure of camping with my family in the woods of New Jersey (except for the flash flood on the first night, where we watched our shoes float away in about four inches of water).

At one point, I was singing a song to my two-year-old granddaughter, Lilith. She was sitting on my lap and when I finished “Tra La La, Tweedle Dee Dee” (she loves songs from the ‘50s) she turned her bright little face up toward mine, made the most direct eye contact imaginable and commanded, “Again!” I sang this song once more. When it was done, she made the same eye contact, with a little smile as she said forcefully, “Again!” Well, I received about 20 “Again’s” (literally) until there was some distraction, which I might have had something to do with creating. But her enthusiastic “Again!” and the total love and appreciation in her eyes made me feel like the most cherished and adored person on the planet. And in those moments, to little Lilith, I know I was.

The “lesson” I learned, and that I share with you, is to be open to the acknowledgments that come to us all the time from many different and unexpected places. They are gifts that are given to us with no expectation of a return, except in this case, perhaps another round of “Tra La La Tweedle Dee Dee.” Enjoy them from wherever and whenever they come. They are truly precious in all their forms!