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  • in reply to: Introduction #8633

    First of all, Welcome aboard Pam!  I am certain you will find this group truly amazing.  I have learned so much about myself and about how I deal with people who work for me, around me and who I work for in some fascinating ways.  These are tremendous people here who are always willing to share experiences, ideas and support.

    As for your challenges, I am certain you will find a strong support system here as well.  Many of us, probably all of us, have our own challenges in life that we deal with, and I can say personally that I have found a positive empathetic ear to help.  I have actually used the 5 C’s of acknowledgment to deal with some of my personal challenges.  And to exercise my vulnerability quotient, I have a wonderful wife of 32 years that has MS and suffers from mobility issues.  I have also been diagnosed with MS ironically, however I do not suffer from any symptoms.  My youngest daughter has 2 beautiful girls herself and has recently married their father, although they have had issues we have dealt with.  In those issues and some others, I have had the pleasure of the empathy from the group here, even receiving a great Christmas present from Judy of her book “You’re Totally Awesome” which my daughter has enjoyed reading and using with her kids.

    So, I think you will enjoy the community here from both professional and personal perspectives.

    Again, welcome aboard!

    in reply to: Hey! How about another challenge! #8623

    Howdy all!  Wow, it’s been a while.  I guess I am really enjoying my new job more than expected!  But I am still with you all.  Sorry I missed the last Q&A.  I was involved with an RCM event.  And it is from this event that would like to share this week.

    I found a new way to show my gratitude and to acknowledge people for their efforts; INCLUSION.

    Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) is a business process that looks at the way equipment operates, in order to increase cost effectiveness, reliability, machine uptime, and a greater understanding of the level of risk that the organization is managing.  All last week we had representatives from our main office in Oregon with us to look at one of our major components.  Our organization provided people from operations, maintenance, engineering and continuous improvement.  We looked at all the drawings, the manuals, the history of breakdowns, the current preventive maintenance procedures to see where there may be some gaps, lapses or excessive maintenance.  From that, we developed a plan to improve the maintenance and operating procedures, and some ideas on projects to improve the equipment.

    So, now the good news.  When we finished the review, the team from Oregon put together a number of reports generated from the software we used for the event.  When they presented it to us, the entire group was a bit surprised by what they had discovered, and very proud of the work they completed in this event.  I took the opportunity to show my appreciation for their effort and focused on the wide spectrum of involvement.

    I thanked the entire group for setting aside the typical division of work scope; operations, maintenance, engineering, and working together to reach a goal to improve one of the most critical components in our facility.  It is a prototype and has no stream of parts available except off the shelf items and locally engineered parts to install/repair.  I acknowledged that the success we had would not be possible without working together as a team.  In the beginning there was the usual uncertainty with working together, but I asked them to focus on the need for the facility, and not any bias.  They did that very well.  Afterwards I asked how they felt about going through this kind of event, and they all agreed it was a big success, and are looking forward to the next one.  I also asked them to share their experiences with their co-workers who may be involved in the future themselves, in the hope that any trepidation felt could be diminished.  They all agreed to pass the message on.  Hearing they would speak positively about the process was very encouraging for me.

    There’s a new book from a fellow former submariner that I have been reading that talks about inclusion.  It is titled ‘Diversity and Inclusion; the Submarine Way’ by John Vincent, a retired Master Chief Petty Officer.  John explains the concepts of diversity and inclusion in a way that is a bit unknown by corporate America, but almost second nature to us ‘bubbleheads’.  When it gets down to it, the diversity of people from all walks of life, areas of the country, backgrounds, and even now sexes, are important.  But more important is the need for all to put that diversity aside and let the inclusion take hold.  Inclusion of all is vital to the success of the mission, and nothing else matters.  When a sub is submerged, there is no supply store for parts.  There is no shop to pull into to repair things.  There is no way out.  If we need to go to war, we all have a job to do.  If we have a casualty we all have to fix it.  Submariners go through tons of training, certification and qualifications to be ready to handle anything, even if it isn’t related to our prime function.  Example, I was a Missile Technician; worked on the nuke weapons system.  But I was also a qualified sonar operator, helmsman, diving officer, Chief of the watch, security guard.  I worked in the galley, I cleaned the bilges in the engine room (yes even as a chief).  We all did what was needed regardless if it was part of our trained jobs or not.  We were all included in all aspects of operating and fighting the ship.  I saw a direct relationship to this submarine inclusion in the RCM event last week.  I realized it was extremely important to thank everyone for their inclusive efforts.  So I took the team out to dinner at a nice restaurant (yes, the company DID pay!).

    My growth in acknowledgment and appreciation has taken another step; one that I had already learned in the Submarine Force but had not recognized until recently.  Inclusion is a vital tool to ensure the success of the mission.  And, when you include people from every aspect of the organization on projects and problems, you are ensuring the success of your corporate mission.

    I think that’s real cool!

    in reply to: Hey! How about another challenge! #8592

    Howdy all.  It has been too long since my last share with you.  It’s time for another.

    The company I work for is very focused on employee safety.  The company is worldwide, but our group is comprised of about seven facilities.  Our focus is so strong, we are discouraged if we do NOT get any safety inputs from employees, in categories such as injuries, near hits (because a near miss is a hit!), and safety comments good and bad.  We want the inputs so we know where the potential injuries are before someone gets hurt, and can correct them.  The more the input, the more opportunities to make the workplace safer.  We track them and report each week to each other where our weaknesses are, what we do about them, and communicate them to each other so we can learn from each other.  This past meeting was my turn to report to the group.  I went over the leading and lagging indicators as expected.  At the end I added a sprinkling of gratitude.

    “On a personal note, I have been with the company for 3 months now, and I would like to acknowledge the great efforts taken companywide to make our workplaces safer every day.  I am particularly impressed by the expressions of vulnerability shown by the presenters each week, to comment on the weaknesses, and explain the paths forward to correct them.  The transparency shown by all is very much appreciated. ”

    From the feedback given, it seems to have been well received.  In fact, a peer in another facility I had requested some information from (and had not heard from for some time now) sent me the information I needed about an hour after the safety call.  He is notoriously slow on responding to anyone.  Even though he made no mention of my safety call communication, it was obvious that he heard my message in the way his email was written.  Another example of even the simplest of gratitude can be rewarding in numerous ways.


    Roxi, I want to thank you for your part in sending me the Christmas gifts of Judy’s books, including the total awesome book.  I gave it to my daughter who has 2 girls of her own.  Their lives have been in such turmoil for the last few years, and the oldest girl is almost 8 and has experienced bullying and has responded with some of her own bullying back.  My daughter called me the next day and was almost in tears over how helpful she believes this book will be for her and my granddaughter.  I will ask her if she wants to donate it.  If not (which I expect her answer will be!) I will get another and have her donate it in her girls’ name.  This is a great idea!



    This is a great article!  thank you for sharing it.  I especially like 2 points:

    • Gratitude is best when you are grateful for someone rather than for something.
    • Praise and recognition are contingent on an activity, where gratitude is a pure and authentic expression of appreciation.


    in reply to: Hey! How about another challenge! #8516

    Howdy all!  I was trying to think of my next share with you this week.  I could have written about the new job and how much I am enjoying the challenges, or about the appreciation shown throughout the company, or even where improvements can still be made.

    Then I got my socks knocked off!

    I was walking around the plant facilities on what I call my ‘bread crumb walk’; I tell the folks I am trying to learn the operations and maintenance challenges we face, and if you need me look for the ‘bread crumbs’.  And if you find the end of the trail I am not there, go for help!

    When I returned to my office, a box was on my desk.  ??  What’s this?  I didn’t order anything and they wouldn’t send parts to the manager would they?  So when I opened it BAM!!  There goes the socks!  I find a very festive bag with a whole bunch of goodies inside!  “The Power of Acknowledgment” by Judith W. Umlas; both a hard cover AND the audio CD’s read by the author!


    “You’re Totally Awesome! The POWER of Aknowledgment for Kids”, by Judy Umlas.


    a poster of the 7 principles of acknowledgment which will go right next to my poster of the 5C’s.


    A very warm and heartfelt letter from Judy.  And, with the current temperatures outside with the lightly falling snow, this has greatly warmed my heart (although the smile on my face is still frozen in place and will be there for some time!)

    So my share this week relates to being on the receiving side of acknowledgment.  I am truly humbled and warmed by the gifts sent to me by Judy, and I bet others as well (Roxi?).

    To everyone, I wish for you the very best.  I have learned so much from you all over the past 2 years that I have been involved with the Center for Grateful Leadership.  Your personal shares, the podcasts, the articles and the interactions during the Q&A have been very helpful to me.  I am a lifelong student like Johnny 5 from the movie ‘Short Circuit’ who said “I NEED INPUT”.  That’s me.  I look forward to next year and the coming years to learn more, and share what I learn with you.

    Have a safe and wonderful Holiday everyone.


    Thank you Judy!

    in reply to: Hey! How about another challenge! #8513

    Hello Roxi!  I sent the email to you.   Looking forward to Thursday!

    in reply to: Hey! How about another challenge! #8490

    Hello all! Time for another share.
    Part of my job as maintenance senior leader has me attend hazard awareness and abatement (RAA) discussions when we have a new or updated procedure or equipment, to see if there is any increase in hazards posed by the change. Because I am very focused on worker safety, I can be a bit tenacious when I see something that needs to be addressed.
    Today an instance of my tenacity was needed when a potential hazard was made evident in an RAA meeting, but the leader tried to minimize the concern. He was earnest about his position and honestly believed he was covering my concern adequately, but I was not giving up until the concern was documented. Having it documented ensured that the concern would be addressed in the appropriate manner. In the end, the concern was documented and actions to address were assigned.
    When the meeting was over, one of the my peers who was an attendee approached me in my office, wanting to tell me something. As he closed the door I wondered if I was getting the “Hey I know you’re new but..” talk. Instead, he thanked me for sticking to my guns about my concern. He explained that many times, the concerns raised during these RAA meetings are minimized through group-think discussions, and then do not get the appropriate level of awareness. He appreciated that I stood my ground and would not accept complacency towards the hazard.

    That felt really good to hear the acknowledgement. I am very confident in my abilities and am willing to stand for principles. But being the new guy, I also want my interactions to be fair, honest and professional. Being acknowledged by one of my peers was a nice confidence boost. And, of course I acknowledged his acknowledgement! After all, that’s what we do.

    I have posted my 5 C’s poster outside my door. I wonder if he read it?

    Have a great weekend everyone!

    in reply to: Introduce Yourself! #8393

    Welcome aboard Shaundra! There are so many good stories and experiences shared here that have encouraged me tremendously. I look forward to reading some of yours too!

    in reply to: Encouraging Others #8374

    That’s fantastic Jim!  So there is some grass growing on your side of the fence too!

    in reply to: Hey! How about another challenge! #8370

    Howdy all.  Every few days I get some inspirational email from a friend who shares some interesting things about life.  Today I received the following article in her email that I would like to share with you.


    Three Surprising Ways that Gratitude Works at Work

    by Robert Emmons

    A couple of summers ago, I traveled to the steamy cauldron of central Florida to speak at the WorkHuman conference.  Nearly 1,500 human resource professionals were in attendance, eager to hear from luminaries like Arianna Huffington and Rob Lowe (probably more than they wanted to hear an academic recite his research findings).  Beaten down by dispiriting, depleting, and demoralizing workplaces, they were hungry for ways to create more energizing and elevating environments.

    WorkHuman is the brainchild of Globoforce, a progressive company that helps other companies develop and implement effective programs that recognize and celebrate the work of their employees.  In a nutshell, they aim to bring more gratitude into organizations, making workplaces more human and humane.

    Globoforce is in the global business of thanks, using the power of gratitude to proactively improve a company’s culture.  Drawing upon the science of gratitude and their own internally driven set of practices, they have demonstrated that giving and receiving appreciation is both beneficial and vital to a high-functioning organization.

    In collaboration with the IBM Smarter Workforce Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management, Globoforce has been conducting research in nearly 50 countries around the world.  Their studies, along with others’ research, have linked gratitude and related traits (like engagement) to improvements in productivity, profitability, quality, loyalty, safety, absenteeism, and other cost and performance metrics.

    Globoforce would be the first to admit that recognizing and celebrating the contributions that others make to our work is not a brand new idea.  But the science of gratitude has been highlighting new reasons to take this idea seriously.  While some of these reasons—stronger relationships, more happiness—have long been documented by gratitude research, studies are also pointing to more ways in which gratitude works at work.  Here are three surprising ways that gratitude pays off.

    1.   Gratitude facilitates better sleep.

    Sleep is the mind and body’s quintessential restorative activity.  The National Sleep Foundation reports that 95 percent of people need seven to eight hours of sleep per night, and yet 30 percent of Americans get less than six hours.  Preventing sleep deprivation could be a massive cost saver for workplaces: Last year’s Rand Corporation study reported that sleep deprivation cost U.S. companies more than $400 billion a year in lost productivity, more than 2 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).  Similar losses were found around the world, with Japan, Germany, and the U.K. also losing 1.5-3 percent of their GDP to too little sleep.  The Rand study estimated that if people who sleep under six hours a night started sleeping between six and seven, this could add over $200 billion to the U.S. economy.

    Lost sleep quantity and quality is also linked with poor job satisfaction, worse executive functioning, less innovative thinking, lower occupational performance, more safety errors and work injuries, and even death.  Sleep deprivation also negatively affects relationships because sleep-deprived people are less trusting of others and more impatient, frustrated, and hostile.

    A number of studies have shown that gratitude promotes physiologically restorative behaviors, chief of which is better sleep.  Grateful thinking and grateful moods help us sleep better and longer. In one study, people keeping a gratitude journal slept on average 30 minutes more per night, woke up feeling more refreshed, and had an easier time staying awake during the day compared to those who didn’t practice gratitude.

    How does gratitude facilitate better sleep?  Research suggests that grateful people have more positive “pre-sleep cognitions” and fewer negative pre-sleep cognitions.  Negative, critical thoughts (e.g., about bad things happening in the world) tend to induce sleeplessness.  But grateful people’s minds are awash in pleasant thoughts (e.g., about enjoyable things that happened to them during the day), and this promotes sleepiness.

    The connection is clear: Grateful people enjoy more restful, restorative, and refreshing sleep and reap the benefits at work the next day.

    2. Gratitude reduces excessive entitlement.

    Entitlement refers to “attitudes about what a person feels here she has a right to and what a person feels here she can expect from others.”  But some people suffer from a condition known as “excessive entitlement”: They feel they deserve more than others, a disproportionately greater amount of a particular good beyond what would be considered appropriate.  They are dissatisfied with whatever they receive, whether it is pay, promotions, or praise.

    On the job, people with excessive entitlement tend to engage in more counterproductive work behaviors, actions designed to harm an organization or its members.  These include theft, aggression, violence, sabotage, withdrawal, deliberate poor performance, and threatening, abusing, and blaming others.  Entitlement can show up in toxic workplace cultures alongside gossip, complaining, and negativity.

    How is gratitude relevant here?  A person who feels entitled to everything will be grateful for nothing; gratitude is the antidote to entitlement, and to other aspects of toxic workplace culture.  Grateful individuals live in a way that leads to the kind of workplace environment that human beings long for.  Gratitude produces higher levels of positive emotions that are beneficial in the workplace, such as joy, enthusiasm, and optimism, and lower levels of the destructive impulses of envy, resentment, greed, and bitterness.

    Furthermore, recent social psychological research has shown that gratitude is linked to lower levels of hostility and aggression.  When people are experiencing gratitude, they are approximately 20-30 percent less likely to be annoyed, irritated, and aggressive.  They are less susceptible to having their feelings hurt, and, when their feelings are hurt, they are less likely to strike back.  Years ago, a very wise person said that gratitude is a vaccine, an antitoxin, and an antiseptic.

    3. Gratitude allows us to contribute more.

    Grateful people practice behaviors that fall in the category of being a good citizen.  In the workplace, gratitude inspires employees to be helpful and deters them from engaging in behaviors that are harmful.

    Considerable research has demonstrated gratitude as a driver of “prosocial” (kind and helpful) behavior.  A recent review of over 50 studies found that gratitude is even more strongly linked to prosocial behaviors than happiness or empathy.  Not surprisingly, then, grateful people make better organizational citizens.  They are more likely to volunteer for extra work assignments, take time to mentor coworkers, be compassionate when someone has problem, and encourage and praise others.

    Beyond the social sphere of work, gratitude also drives enhanced performance in the cognitive domain: Grateful people are more likely to be creative at work.  Gratitude promotes innovative thinking, flexibility, openness, curiosity, and love of learning.  Grateful people have an interest in learning new information and skills, and they seek opportunities to learn and develop.  (In fact, a highly publicized 2015 study found that out of 24 strengths of character, love of learning and gratitude were the strongest predictors of overall well-being.)

    Willibald Ruch and his colleagues at the University of Zürich recently proposed a new organizational model where team members fall into one of seven roles: idea creator, information gatherer, decision maker, implementer, influencer, energizer, or relationship manager.  They found that grateful people were likely to be “idea creators”: successful with developing new and innovative ideas and reaching solutions in unconventional ways.

    These early findings are promising, but systematic research on workplace gratitude has only recently begun.  Much work remains: Ryan Fehr, a professor of management at the University of Washington, recently proposed 17 testable hypotheses to move research on gratitude in the workplace forward!

    But you literally cannot overplay the hand of gratitude; the grateful mind reaps massive benefits in every domain of life that has been examined so far.  There are countless ways in which gratitude could pay off in the workplace.  As I wrote in The Little Book of Gratitude, gratitude is “the ultimate performance-enhancing substance.”


    Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., is the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude.  He is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and the founding editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology.  He is the author of the books Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, Gratitude Works!: A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity, and (his latest) The Little of Book Gratitude.


    in reply to: Hey! How about another challenge! #8368

    Howdy all!  I am finishing my first week at my new job, and wow, challenges galore!  This will be fun!  And I truly mean fun.

    I mentioned earlier that I would like to incorporate Grateful Leadership and the power of acknowledgement at the new facility, so when I attended my first corporate wide safety teleconference I was surprised to hear so much acknowledgement already!  Later that day I went to lunch with the plant manager.  We talked of the needs of my position, the things to improve, what I would like to do, etc.  Hmm, what I would like to do, eh?  So, I sprung it on him.  Flat out, I want to bring the power of acknowledgement to the facility.  I was ready to give a pitch, like some sort of ad man.

    He said, “OK”.

    Huh?  OK?

    I told him how impressive it was to hear such recognition during that meeting, and he said, “Yeah, we don’t do that as much here, so this might be a good thing to try.”

    OK.  So the foot is in the door, and I will be planting the grass seeds soon.  First, I must till the soil and get myself established for my official role as maintenance manager.  But it appears that the saga will continue.

    More to come, for sure.

    Have a great week!

    in reply to: Hey! How about another challenge! #8359

    Howdy all!  Tomorrow is my first day at the new job.  I am looking forward to a new start and a new place to continue my growth!

    During this past week, I have had 2 wonderful experiences with acknowledgement I would like to share.  The first one was with a customer representative with the television service I was cancelling.  Most times these folks deal with people who are not happy with the service for one reason or another, so they may have an initial bent or expectation of anger from the caller.  In my case, the rep had a wonderful attitude.  She was friendly, courteous and listened completely to my reasons for leaving the service.  Of course she explained how we could get the kind of service we wanted for a different price, but fully understood our reasons for leaving.  She was very knowledgeable with our time with the company, and dealt fairly and professionally.  But there was the definite somber tone to the sound of her voice, probably due to the fact that another customer was leaving the service.  When the call was just about over, I asked her if this call was being recorded.  She said yes, and asked me why.  I said that is great, and went on to thank her for the professional way she handled the call; noting her knowledge, her fair discussion with me, offering possible solutions to remain but understood why we were leaving.  And I mentioned that it was very pleasant to speak with her about my desire to end the service.  When I finished she burst out with a very happy “Well thank you!  What a nice thing to say!”  She was ecstatic.  “I haven’t gotten that kind of thanks from anyone for a while!”  And I made sure the call was recorded first so the acknowledgement can get to her supervisors.  That was a good call.

    The other one was when I went to visit my daughter.  I accompanied her to get my granddaughter from school (1st grader).  She came out of the school building with her back pack on, and her coat in her arms, just coming out all stoic as kids do at that age.  Then she saw me down the sidewalk.  Instant eyes and mouth open screaming my name (Coco is what they call me.)  COCO!  COCO!  She kept calling out as the tears started running down her face, so happy to see me.  And with back pack and coat and all, she leaped into my arms and hugged me tight!  Talk about a unique choice of communication!  That felt so good to be greeted by my granddaughter that way.  IT still warms my heart thinking about it.

    Well, I start a new career tomorrow, and I plan on bringing Grateful Leadership with me.  I urged the folks in GARG back at Sandvik to join the Center.  I hope they do.  I told Ben that when the movement gets going, it may be fun to do a joint event, like coffee or something with both groups.  After all, grass grows on both sides of the fence.


    Have a great week!

    in reply to: Hey! How about another challenge! #8330

    Well, good day all.  Today is my last full day at Sandvik.  I leave tomorrow and will take some time off to be with family, friends and the dog that found the black and white striped cat!!  Oh, and lets not forget the honey-do list that has grown to about 3 volumes.

    I leave the efforts to bring the power of acknowledgement to my present boss, Ben.  He has taken the GARG group on full force and wants it to succeed.  he is ready to increase the invitation list also, which is great news!  Last night, the entire management team had a dinner meeting with presentations by the staff on the state of SSM; areas of strength, areas that could be improved, etc.    The group I was in (did not attend due to my pending departure) handled the people issues.  I was very pleased to hear that the group spoke of the power of acknowledgement; even gave me some credit for the initial effort.  (See Judy!  I am vulnerable enough to openly share the praise I received!  Pretty good, eh?)  I understand the discussion points were well received.

    Now in my new role, I intend to bring the GARG or other name if more applicable to my new job.  Ben is going to increase the rolls at SSM GARG.  The grass is growing!

    And I leave this post with a verse I was given from the Bible that applies:

    The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. – Proverbs 27:9

    Chat with you soon!



    in reply to: Hey! How about another challenge! #8327

    Good morning all!  And welcome to October!  It seems only days ago the temperatures in southeast Washington State were in the 90’s and 100’s F.  Oh wait, it was only days ago!  Now the temps are in the 60’s and 70’s F.  Had to break out my coat today for the first time in months.

    So change is in the air.   And for me personally the air is changing as well.  I have been searching for a new career challenge for quite some time now.  And I am happy to announce that I found the right one.  I have been offered a position as Senior Maintenance Leader for the Richland, WA plant for Allegheny Technologies Inc.

    And there is my opportunity to acknowledge.  I would like to acknowledge everyone here at the Center for Grateful Leadership for all the support you have given me.  I have always asked for more input from you, so I can better myself.  With Judy’s guidance and the experiences shared by you all I am a more well-rounded individual, manager and leader.  I have been able to improve my EQ skills and gained some new soft skills in relating to co-workers and subordinates and now people on the street.

    One of my favorite successes is working with my present manager who has started the Grateful Appreciation and Recognition Group here at Sandvik Special Metals.  It is going well here, and I know the effort is being led by the right guy.

    As for me, I will be going partially off line for a bit to turn things over here and get oriented at the new facility.  I start October 23rd, and will need to get my feet fully wet there.  But I will be tuning in regularly, if not sharing with you when I can.  I do plan on continuing the GARG in some capacity at ATI at some point.  New place, new challenge.

    Again, thank you all for the strong support you have given me over the past 2 years.

    I will be back!

    Have a great week!


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