Thanks! (The Thankfulness Jar)

Many of my leadership blogs focus on the good things that are happening in organizations and in life.  I do it because I am an optimistic person and feel we achieve much more when we operate with a foundation of positive thoughts, as opposed to negative ones.   I look for all those things that can be done in an organization at a home to make people aware of the great things that are happening around us, as well as the great people who are making all this happen.


Our son and daughter-in-law started something that I really like.  In fact, I like it so much, my wife and I started our own.  It’s a Thankfulness Jar.  You take a big jar (I used a tall plastic peanut butter pretzel container) and a  “thankfulness label” on the front.  Here’s what you do with it:

Each week my wife and I each put a small file card in it on which we write something we are thankful for.  We won’t look at what each other have put in the jar until the upcoming New Year’s Day.  Then we will open them up and read more than a hundred things we are thankful for.

Why do we do this?  Normally, you might think of a few things you are thankful for, but the truth is you forget and lose sight of the many things that are going well.  This is a way to capture these things.

This process can be done at a business, too.  You could take a little different twist and make the jar a “Thank You Jar” that allows people to thank someone for a kind thing they did or an achievement they noticed.  You could even have an award for the person who receives the most.  The point is that you remind yourself and focus on the many great things the people around you are doing.

If you head up an organization, you might want to encourage your employees to start a “Thankfulness Jar” in their home.  Why?   People are much more effective at work if they are happy at home, too.

                                ACTION STEPS FOR THIS WEEK

  1. What things are going on in your life or in your organization that you should be truly thankful for?
  2. Can you easily think of at least three or four things you are thankful for about each of your employees?
  3. When you start a performance evaluation meeting with an employee, do you start by thanking the employee, or do you launch into all the things they need to improve upon?
  4. Do you need a little “attitude adjustment” yourself so that you are focusing more on what you are thankful for than what is going wrong?
  5. Put some type of “thank you” mechanism in your home and then in your organization this week.

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by Daniel P. Chiodo
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