Harvey Mackay Academy's Blog

A young man was applying for a job at a big company. During the interview, the hiring manager asked if the candidate’s father had paid for his education?

The young man said no, that his father had passed away when he was young. He added that his mother took in laundry to pay for his schooling. He offered to help her, but his mother always told him to concentrate on his studies.

The hiring manager asked the candidate to do him a favor and go home and wash his mother’s hands and come back to see him in the morning.

The young man was confused but wanted the job, so he did as he was told. It was the first time he noticed how wrinkled and bruised his mother’s hands were. He realized this was the price his mother paid for his education and future.

The next morning, he returned to the hiring manager who inquired, “Did you do as I asked, and what did you learn?”

The young man nodded yes and said, “I learned appreciation. Without my mother, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I also learned the importance and value of family relationships.”

The manager said, “This is what I’m looking for – someone who can appreciate the help of others and who doesn’t think money is the only goal in life. You’re hired.”

Appreciation is an essential need for all of us. Who doesn’t want to be appreciated? Feeling genuinely appreciated lifts people up and makes them feel happy. It also makes you happy when you witness how you made a difference in others’ lives.

Gallup recently reported that only 15 percent of employees in the U.S. are truly engaged in their workplace. Yet nearly 70 percent of employees say they would work harder if they felt more appreciated.

A “Personnel Today” survey of 350 human resources professionals found that the greatest factor in workplace productivity is a positive environment in which employees feel appreciated. According to the survey, two-thirds of the respondents said they felt a lot more productive when they received recognition for their work, while the remainder said they felt a little more productive.

Successful leaders across many fields have plenty to say about the importance of showing appreciation. Here’s a sampling.

Motivational speaker and author Tony Robbins said, “Change your expectation for appreciation and the world changes instantly.”

Retailing giant Sam Walton wrote 10 rules for success, and the Walmart founder didn’t mince words when it came to being thankful. The fifth of Walton’s rules is “Appreciate everything your associates do for the business.”

Legendary college basketball coach John Wooden said: “It is quite possible that the most abused, overused, or misused word in our language is the simple word thanks. However, when sincerely used I know of no word that can more adequately express one’s feeling of appreciation than “Thanks.”

William James, psychologist and philosopher, said, “The deepest principle of human nature is a craving to be appreciated.”

Appreciation should be an everyday occurrence, not an event limited to a special week or event. A plaque on the wall means nothing without ongoing support. People need to know that they are valued every day.

Appreciation has a snowball effect. The more genuine the appreciation toward employees, the better. For example, appreciation helps boost morale and confidence by demonstrating that a person is appreciated and trusted. This in turn serves as motivation and encourages people to go the extra mile.

Appreciation also increases efficiency. Appreciated employees work harder, which impacts results. Relationships are strengthened. Respect is heightened.

A simple appreciation message can go a long way in developing strong bonds and motivating people. Words of appreciation not only boost the performances of team members or colleagues but also rejuvenates close relationships. A thank-you message for a particular work or effort is an excellent method to develop long-lasting mutual respect.

A young woman experiencing a lack of appreciation decided to do something special for her thirteenth wedding anniversary. She called a florist and ordered 13 long-stemmed roses that arrived with a card that read, “I love you!” Signed by her husband Bill.

Bill was curious who would send his wife flowers and sign his name. Twenty days later the mystery was solved when his credit card bill arrived.

Let’s hope he remembered that lesson in time for their fourteenth anniversary.

Mackay’s Moral: Give appreciation for a little, and you will find a lot.

About the Author

Seven-time, New York Times best-selling author of "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," with two books among the top 15 inspirational business books of all time, according to the New York Times. He is one of America’s most popular and entertaining business speakers, and currently serves as Chairman at the MackayMitchell Envelope Company, one of the nation’s major envelope manufacturers, producing 25 million envelopes a day.