Adam Grant is one of my favorite researchers. He’s a professor at the Wharton School and his book Give and Take is one of the best business books I’ve ever read. It aligns so well with our teachings at Bunnell Idea Group that I have multiple copies, because our clients kept buying it for me when they saw all of the similarities!
His research aligns so well with my thinking that it’s almost like he created some weird mind reading machine to pull out and conduct all the research I wished could be done, showing me what works and what doesn’t. One of my favorite examples is that Givers are more successful than Takers. The most powerful relationships are mutually beneficial, not one-way. Another favorite is gratitude.
Grant and his colleagues at Wharton looked into the power of gratitude in business relationships. In one part of a study, participants were asked to review a cover letter. After giving their feedback, they were asked to review another. Half received a basic request that only acknowledged the first review. The other half were explicitly thanked for the first review before being requested to do more.
Believe it or not, the rate of follow-through doubled in response to a simple thank you. How would you like to double the number of prospects you turn into clients? Grant even tried this outside the lab, measuring the effect of gratitude on the efforts of call center workers. A visit expressing gratitude from the director of annual giving led to a 50-percent increase in the volume of phone calls made. A little gratitude goes a long way.
My friend Ned Morse at BCG has taken this thinking even deeper. Ned is one of the top coaches of CEOs in the world. He taught me that being specific about what you’re thankful for is the most powerful.
Firing off a quick “Thank you!” email reply is better than no reply at all. But Ned taught me to go the extra mile and say something specific: “Thank you for your extra effort! Our client Jane noticed you sent the analysis at 1:36 am and couldn’t believe you went the extra mile on such short notice. She’s providing a reference for us on Friday for that $1.2 million dollar deal with XYZ company. Your hard work made a positive impression at a critical time. Thanks again – I know you missed your family dinner that night. It means a lot to me.”
Being specific like this drives the point home, making that thank you even more meaningful.
Now, it’s my turn to thank you, specifically!
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