I work in a bureaucracy. That’s a loaded word – myriad pictures cross your mind when you read that word, many < positive. I’m not here to argue the merits. I’m here to share good news – if you work in a big machine like this, the way you get things done is with teamwork – an overused word, true. So is “thank you” but you can’t reach your goals without liberal use of the phrase.

Thankful for nature. The [rainforest] is alive, with the sound of fungus. Location: Arenal, Costa Rica

Over the summer I did one of those typical introspections we all subject ourselves to. The take-away – my department had vastly increased our services. What supported that achievement more than anything else? Other people’s efforts. Their support – by giving advice, referrals and stepping in to help where needed – made the difference. So, taking a page from Strengthsfinder®, I looked to our strengths to reach the next level.

At the end of our weekly “Move It Monday” meetings, I ask the team to give me some names. Some weeks, lots of names; other weeks, we might struggle for one. But every week, I write a thank you note to those people. Short and to the point, it thanks them for a specific thing they did. I know I like being thanked; I really liked being thanked for something specific.

When you write a book or two, as I did recently about the Inland Empire, the “acknowledgements” page is one of the last to complete, but the most fun. A bit nerve-wracking…knowing someone will be missed. Saying thank you provides a sense of needed completion and closure. Without deadlines, my stories would have no end. For me, there’s no way to really tell if a story was helpful or good without the end to smear it all against.

And that’s what I base my actions on – how would I like to be treated? What do I wish someone would say to me? Then I act and talk accordingly.It does not matter where you work…if there is more than one employee, odds are you need others to help you succeed. Say Thank You, before and after you reach your goals.