When I had a radio show, I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Charles and Dr. Elizabeth Schmitz. They are the #1 love and marriage experts, researchers and award-winning authors of numerous books, including Building a Love That Lasts. I’m struck by the extensive research they conducted with married couples over six continents who had lasting relationships.
Through their research with couples, they found the little things each had done for one another contributed to long marriages. So what does research on marriage have to do with relationships at work? More than you might think.
With over two decades under my belt working with business leaders create Cultures of DistinctionTM and build high-performance teams, I’ve found three little things that make a big difference:
• Do the little things
• Recognize the little things
• Appreciate the little things
1. Do The Little Things.
Some of the little things show you care. Many times it doesn’t take a lot of effort but makes a big difference in creating relationships that last, like:
Randomly call your clients to see how they are embracing concepts from your training
Apologize for an overly-restrictive policy that had an unintended negative impact on employees
Show up on time and fulfill on a promise even when it’s inconvenient
2. Recognize the Little Things.
It’s easy to overlook the little things people do every day. As a leader, if you focus on all that is not working, you’ll get more of what’s not working. When you fail to recognize the little things, people don’t think you care.
In creating a customer-centered culture, it’s important to recognize the little things that your team does every day. Recognize when:
- An employee proactively took out the caution sign and cleaned up the mess so nobody would slip and fall.
- An employee walked the customer to where the product was located rather than pointing to it.
- Your independent contractor replaced a burned out bulb without being asked.
Recognition for even the little things goes a long way.
3. Appreciate the Little Things.
An attitude of gratitude sustains relationships and builds a Culture of DistinctionTM. Sometimes we don’t stop long enough to notice and recognize the full worth of when:
- Someone listened to you about a challenging experience.
- Your consultant provided additional services out of the scope of work.
- Someone with a full basket of groceries let you cut in line because you only had one item so you could get to your appointment on time.
It’s the little things that matter. As a leader, what little thing can you do, recognize, or appreciate today?