December 19, 2018

Certainly when it comes to what I’ve really been thinking, there is no doubt I’d have to say “holiday cards”!  It has actually become somewhat funny.  I have a bit of an assembly line going with Outlook updates (as it makes no sense to send cards to old addresses or to miss new clients!), card envelopes, stamps (both domestic and international), adding a personal note, and for a few groups, inserting a relevant brochure or letter.  And my mom’s envelopes were thrown in for good measure to lend a helping hand.  

There have definitely been days (even before I started) where I wondered whether it is worth it. What I have always thought is if I couldn’t personalize the card, I wouldn’t send it. With that said, I think there is something to be said for the personal touch so I carry on!  Who doesn’t appreciate the personal touch?  I happen to be sitting at Olive Garden for lunch, and I sit at the bar and work on my laptop somewhat frequently. They just bring my order without me saying a word. The other day, the manager bought my lunch and just had the server tell me it was taken care of. Nice personal touch!  Do you add a personal touch now and then?

One tip to implement this week:
It is quite easy to add a personal touch. It isn’t common or expected but it isn’t rocket science. Think about one of your colleagues. What does he/she appreciate?  Do NOT think about what you would like if you were this colleague. It is unlikely to be the same answer.  I learned that lesson quite a long time ago when I was a VP of Operations, and I couldn’t understand why a direct report would do the things she was doing. It didn’t make any sense to me, and if I asked, she answered 100% opposite of what was happening but believed what she said. It turns out that my best friend helped me understand what no business book could – this person had a different reality and saw things in her version of reality. If I wanted to provide a personal touch in her case, I’d have to transform my thinking into her reality.  

Fast forward to earlier this year, and I had to laugh because I took a test for a train-the-trainer class, and my answers (to what turned out to be a personality test of how I like to work) came out very different from my preferences. No one told me to answer the test for me. I answered the questions how I assume most clients would prefer! Strangely, the other consultant in the room did the same thing!  Go Valerie!

The good news is it isn’t typically that hard. People are happy to tell you what is important to them or it is easy to pick it up on it by what they do and say.  For example, if one of your employees values task completion and hard work, don’t recognize them by giving them time off.  Instead, recognize the significant accomplishment with a specific comment that shows you understand what was required to achieve it.  

The same holds true for gifts. Don’t give a techie a Starbucks gift card when they would love a cool tech gadget. For example, my techie friend received an alarm clock where you shoot the target (with a gun) to turn it off and it was a big hit (whereas several people passed over that white elephant gift).  My cat is a great example.  Forgot expensive cat gifts.  He would love an empty box!

It is that time of the year when a personal touch can go a long way. Pick a few people and put thought into it.