By Greg Woock, CEO, Pinger, Inc.
At some point, every successful executive is asked a version of this question: “How do you do it?” How did you become successful?
When I was recently asked that question, my answer was simple. I didn’t do it.
I have never accomplished anything entirely by myself, and I don’t believe anyone ever has. I have the benefit of a team, one made up of smart, thoughtful, insightful people. Together, we are very successful.
I’ve had instructors, mentors, investors, advisors, vendors, and customers, and I’ve learned from all of them. Like my team, they are a big part of any success people might attribute to me.
Think about it: even artists who work alone aren’t solely responsible for their masterpieces. They had teachers and mentors. Someone made their paints and brushes, and someone bought their paintings so they could continue creating. The artists might paint alone, but they depend on the support of many people.
It’s important to think about success this way, to recognize that every accomplishment is the culmination of some sort of collaboration and relationship.
Because when you realize this, you can’t help but feel grateful. Grateful for the people in your past who shaped who you are and grateful for the people by your side every day who shape the company and its products.
And when you express that gratitude, when you share the accolades and rewards of success, something interesting happens.
It creates more success.
While a fair pay and stock grant or profit sharing attract employees, gratitude is an emotional reward that shouldn’t be overlooked. It slips right past our logical brains and lodges in our hearts. It compels us to be innovative, to find new ways to please our customers and grow our companies. It builds bonds between co-workers and makes us memorable to our vendors. It enables our advisors and mentors to feel a part of our success, moving them to do even more.
And gratitude does something else. It changes the way people see you. When you express genuine gratitude, you demonstrate that you are empathetic and insightful, confident, and secure. Isn’t that the kind of person you’d like to work with?
Considering the rewards, the cost of gratitude is insignificant. It costs nothing to thank an employee and very little to give a gift or some time off after a big achievement. If that small act inspires someone to come up with a great new product idea or prevents them from talking to a headhunter, the benefit to the company makes those investments completely insignificant.
Gratitude isn’t just about words or gifts. It’s about what those words and gifts create: feelings of inclusion, connections between people, and an understanding that we depend on each other for our collective success. It reminds us we can do great things together, and it inspires us to keep doing great things.
Success comes from that.