What makes The Power of Acknowledgment so transformational?


I often feel so lucky to have stumbled on Acknowledgment, the “oh-so-simple” action or tool that while being so simple, still makes such a profound difference in people’s lives. What could possibly explain it? So far, I find the following explanation closest to the probable truth, but feel free to offer your thoughts or ideas as well. I will give full credit for this one to Juliun Brabon, an applicant for a job at International Institute for Learning, for which I was leading the search. Well, his background had nothing at all to do with what we were seeking, but he had such an interesting set of experiences (including being a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and spearheading the media for an event with the Dalai Lama) that I just HAD to invite him to read The Power of Acknowledgment (you may feel free to try to find the logic there). So I “shipped” him a PDF file of the book and here is what he wrote back to me the very next day:

“Acknowledgment is an innate human ability, to the point where it’s not really considered by people, and as a result is often not properly developed. It is often overlooked because of the reasons you describe in your book – fear, embarrassment, vulnerability, etc., yet it is something so simple and yet fundamental. Everyone can benefit from this. I feel like a filter has been pulled back from my eyes.”

I really like the simplicity of Juliun’s explanation. Acknowledgment IS an innate capability that I think we lose the power to use as we build up our defenses in life. And I feel like that traditional fairy godmother in all of my webinars and courses, as I float around the room and just “tap” people on the head, thereby restoring their power. It is that simple. Otherwise, how can you POSSIBLY explain the powerful, dramatic, thrilling, exciting and almost unbelievable incident that occurred in one of the sessions I led in Orlando at the PMI Global Congress North America? Here is the post I wrote for the PMI Blog, Voices on Project Management about it:


When you read this, you will recognize what the power of acknowledgment can have for you, your team members, your leaders, your family, your friends and for all of humanity. Please join the team that is restoring people’s innate ability to acknowledge others powerfully, profoundly, and generously. The world will change as a result. And thanks, Juliun, for applying for a job that didn’t fit, and in the process really catching my attention with your experience and your wisdom!

Until the next time,

Judith W. Umlas