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Friday, March 04, 2011

CEO SPACE: 5 Keys to Improving Employee Morale (Without Spending a Penny)!

Leslie KnightCorporations spend a lot of money on employee morale and retention…celebrations, trinkets, new benefits, pay increases, etc. Unfortunately, these measures often fail to have a lasting effect. Once the “good feelings” wear off, morale falls again, creating an endless spending cycle a small business can’t afford.

You can have a permanent and positive impact AND it won’t cost you anything except a little time and effort to master the language of acknowledgment. After years of working on employee retention issues, Scott Degraffenreid distilled his insights into a new book, Blazing a TRAIL to Success: The New Art & Science of Acknowledgment. Scott observes that acknowledgment is not “saying something to make people feel good” or giving them a token of appreciation. It is the voice of gratitude and expresses the abundance in our lives.

Here are the five keys:

Trust: Trust without proof of someone’s capability to do the work is a very powerful acknowledgment. Given the space to do so, they step up and perform. Trust also means being willing to be disappointed without anticipating failure. When they fail ask how do we do it differently and move on.

Respect: Respect means to take into consideration the feelings, thoughts and input of another in such a way that they recognize you have done so. Respect is so subtle that we don’t realize when we disrespect someone. Little things mean a lot: timely response voice mail and email, being on-time to a meeting, turning off the cell phone, deferring to another’s expertise. Leaders, you get what you give. Do your employees feel respected? BTW…if your suppliers and customers are complaining about service, look to yourself and your management team. Your employees will treat your customers/suppliers only as well as you are treating them.

Appreciation: Appreciation is a sincere compliment…but you have to know what the recipient wants you to notice. If you compliment their organized office and they want you to notice their project management prowess…you blew it! How do you know what to compliment? ASK them! They’ll be blown away that you asked and impressed when you follow-up.

Interest: Interest “consists of being open to another person’s life and thoughts beyond the immediate context of the relationship”. As a leader, what do you know about their life away from work? What do they do for fun? Birthday? Anniversary? Kids’ names? Favorite food/dessert? Take the time to get to know them. If you need to, get an index card for each one with the pertinent information and act on it!

Listening: Listening isn’t just paying attention to what someone says; it also entails being aware of how you hear them. What are you thinking about while you are listening? “Oh no, another whiner” or “I’m glad Henry is so concerned…” Do you ask for input and then ignore it?

Acknowledgment is a skill that takes time and conscious effort to master. Yet this one skill, when used properly, can strengthen and deepen every relationship.


Founded by Berny Dohrmann over 20 years ago, CEO Space is a private entrepreneurial business club with an environment that we created for people to be able to get quick results with their business through networking, education, and resources. For a one-time tuition payment Entrepreneurs receive a Lifetime membership and one free class, as well as a lifetime of mentoring, contacts; resources, and most of all a lifetime of support for you and your business as you grow. You can learn about Transformational Leadership and other topics at CEO Space.

Leslie Knight is a trusted advisor to small businesses. She has over 20 years of experience in Corporate America which she applies to smaller entrepreneurial enterprises. She is Executive Director for CEO Space Volunteer Staff, and is also the author of Navigating the I.T. Minefield – Straight Talk for the Small Enterprise. To purchase your copy, please visit

For more information on CEO Space please visit or call CEO Space at 256.850.4700.

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The Emergence of The Relationship Economy

The Emergence of The Relationship Economy
The Emergence of the Relationship Economy features TNNWC Founder, Adam J. Kovitz as a contributing author and contains some of his early work on The Laws of Relationship Capital. The book is available in hardcopy and e-book formats. With a forward written by Doc Searls (of Cluetrain Manifesto fame), it is considered a "must read" for anyone responsible for the strategic direction of their business. If you would like to purchase your own copy, please click the image above.


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