The Art Of Appreciation And How It Drives Business Success

Janet Linly

Forbes Business Council

| Membership (Fee-Based)

As leaders in business, we aspire to achieve success while making a meaningful impact. However, it is crucial to recognize the important distinction between being appreciated versus being valued—two seemingly similar yet fundamentally different concepts in the corporate world.

Imagine this scenario: A customer walks into a showroom, expresses admiration for the products and engages in conversations about possibilities. However, while discussing the process, the mention of a consultation fee arises, and there’s a moment of hesitation from the customer. While the customer appreciates the business’s tangible offerings for sale at the store, they may not fully grasp the intrinsic value the business provides or the investment of their time and knowledge.

Building a thriving business hinges upon not only having a superior product but also creating authentic value in the skills and knowledge of your team. This poses the question: How can you shift from mere appreciation to fostering genuine value for the intangible aspects that make your business unique? Based on my experiences, here are five steps to consider.

1. Prioritize customers who share your vision.

To achieve sustainable success, it’s essential to define clear standards for what makes your business valuable. Attempting to “be everything to everyone” can dilute that value and create unrealistic expectations. It is important to accept that catering to everyone isn’t feasible or advisable. Instead, focus on clients who genuinely align with and understand your offerings and recognize the importance of your knowledge, especially in an environment where something intangible, like creativity or time, is offered as a service.

2. Tailor offerings to genuine needs.

Trends come and go; therefore, following them merely due to popularity can often fall short. Instead, align your products or services with the authentic needs of your customers while staying true to your brand’s core values. In my experience, success is found in delivering what your customer expects while staying true to your unique identity. A case in point is my company’s recent decision to decline a sizable deal. Although financially enticing, this opportunity risked compromising our craftsmanship and employee morale—a clear indicator of diminishing intrinsic value.

3. Nurture a company culture of gratitude and respect.

I have found that a business’s culture needs to be rooted in mutual respect in order to thrive. While tangible gestures are often appreciated, true value typically emerges from genuine recognition and regard for employers and employees. Cultivating an environment where true value is at the core of your relationships can promote loyalty, productivity and job satisfaction. Even a simple “Good morning” to your team members each day can help encapsulate the spirit of this culture.

4. Cultivate a dedicated team.

The significance of your team cannot be overstated in the pursuit of success. Surround yourself with people who believe in what you’re doing and resonate with your vision. Talk to them and listen to their thoughts—they know a lot! Embracing an open dialogue and listening to your team’s insights can yield invaluable, and sometimes overlooked, perspectives.

Encourage your team’s growth and job satisfaction; this can contribute to their well-being as well as your collective achievements. In my experience, a thriving team translates to authentic triumphs. Almost all my employees have been with me from the start. As we’ve grown, they’ve grown, and seeing them create paths for themselves makes me happy and proud.

5. Uphold respectful behavior.

I recommend taking a strict stance against any form of disrespectful conduct, regardless of the source—clients, suppliers or employees. Upholding the dignity of your team members is vital, as compromise in this area can adversely affect morale and productivity. Consistently adhering to a universal standard of respect helps reinforce your commitment to nurturing a positive work environment and ethical foundation.

A recent incident involving a high-producing dealer serves as a reminder for me. He was condescending and rude to one of our employees, so I quickly advised him that this would be our final interaction since I don’t tolerate that kind of communication toward our team. He promptly apologized. Prioritizing your team’s well-being is effective and helps underscore for everyone that your success comes from respect toward each other.

Leading a successful business involves transcending surface-level appreciation and fostering genuine value. Prioritizing clients who truly understand your time and talent, tailoring offerings to reflect your values, cultivating a culture of gratitude and respect, fostering a cohesive team and anchoring respect as a foundational principle can collectively shape a sustainable sense of value for the business, both in your customers and in your team.

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