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The Importance of “Sharing the Love” and Gratitude Practices

Feburary 2018- by Carl Pritchard, PMP®, PMI-RMP®, Apex Systems Contributor and an internationally recognized author, lecturer and trainer

Top blogs of 2017

Valentine’s Day is behind us...but we still need to be able to share the love. It’s important. And it’s part of what builds a client relationship. That might sound a little over-the-top, but it’s really not. We need to ensure that clients know what we love about them and that we hold them in a positive light.

My wife got me a “gratitude journal” for Christmas, and I told her that it was a lovely gift. I also told her I never intended to write a word in it, but I intended to fulfill the spirit of the gift as often as I possibly could. I’ve been using it for client love. I keep it on my desk, but I never write in it. As soon as I think of something for which I’m grateful, I start an e-mail.

I’ve been writing friends, clients, co-workers and others to let them know that I am truly grateful for everything that they have brought into my life. I reflect on positive experiences and remind them that they are wholly responsible for enabling those experiences in my life. I share the love.

I confess that I initially did it because I wanted my wife to know that the journal did not go to waste, and that I truly embrace the notion of daily gratitude/s. But I am now doing it because it serves as a powerful reminder of the two-way nature of relationships and the power of acknowledging our needs to others.

On a recent business trip, I ran into one of the individuals to whom I had written an e-mail over a month earlier (for the sake of brevity, we’ll call her Wendy). I had simply expressed my gratitude for her as a very supportive client. I told Wendy how I appreciated her professional demeanor, support and how she made my day-to-day job much, much easier. I let one person know that she had truly made my life easier in our relationship.

A group of us went out to dinner that night, including Wendy. During dinner, she shared a recent experience where she was out of town, upset and frustrated with her job and just plain depressed. That was the day my e-mail had landed in her inbox. She said it totally changed her attitude about her trip, and that she felt like someone understood how hard she worked.

I had no idea she was going to share my gratitude. And I had no expectation of how those around us would react. Two of them commented on what a great business idea I had. They didn’t see it as just a genuine expression of my thankfulness for Wendy. They saw it as a means to build client communications, to expand shared understanding and to improve relationships on a business level.

Even clients need love.

It doesn’t take much to share the love with our clients. Try it! First, identify something they do that you see as supportive, helpful, and uniquely them. It doesn’t have to affect you directly. They may just have a positive attitude. They may be the person who simply ensures that everyone’s work day doesn’t stretch too deeply into the evening. They may be the individual who rescues you in a meeting...or always carries a spare pen to ensure that you (and those around you) don’t miss important information. It really doesn’t take much.

The key is acknowledging good behavior. I honestly wish I could find the guy at an intersection earlier today who waved me through. Not a big deal, but a good behavior. Think about the nice things people do for you every day.

  • They surrender parking spots
  • They hold the elevator
  • They light up (just a little) when you walk through the door
  • They laugh willingly
  • They celebrate small victories, and
  • They open doors (both figuratively and literally).

Courtesy is not flourishing in our society, but it’s definitely worth a comeback. We should be leading that charge in our professional lives. It doesn’t take a great deal to make that happen, but when it does happen, it’s a big deal.

In the past three months, I’ve had three people tell me they’ve decided to start showing the love by adopting a gratitude practice. In a sense of paying it forward, I can only hope that they’ll encourage others to take on the same approach.

Gratitude breeds closer relationships. Closer relationships breed client love. If we truly love our clients, our engagements, and those we work’s time to let them know.

Carl Pritchard, PMP®, PMI-RMP®, is an Apex Systems Contributor and an internationally recognized author, lecturer and trainer. He is the author of seven texts in project management, and serves as the U.S. Correspondent to the UK Project Management magazine, Project Manager Today. He produced the Audio PMP Prep: Conversations on Passing the PMP® Exam with Bruce Falk (just released for PMBOK Guide 6th Edition). And he’s hosting Seminars at Sea, sailing from Baltimore October 2018. He welcomes your feedback at Follow him on Twitter at @carlpritchard and @pmpprep

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