[updated November 22, 2017]

Fundamental Success Principle: Take care of your staff, and they will take care of your customers.

What kind of culture are you cultivating in your industrial supply company? Is it a place where people love to go to work everyday? Is it a place where freedom and creativity are encouraged? Is your staff engaged in your mission to equip the world's workforce with the tools needed to stay safe and productive?

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In my experience, that kind of culture doesn't just happen. It's intentionally created and nurtured from the top-down. 

You're busy. I get it! Maybe you have been so focused on delivering the goods for your customers that you haven't been as intentional as you would like in building a culture of gratitude among your staff.

Here's three quick and easy ways to encourage the kind of culture that creates growth:

1. Recognize and Publicly Praise Excellence

In our staff meetings, we start by sharing an "evidence of grace". We are intentional about recognizing great work, and we give credit where credit is due. It's simple, but studies have shown that an alarming 47% feel under-appreciated at their workplace. The first couple of times will feel awkward, but trust me; make this practice a habit in your staff meetings, and it will spread through the ranks!

We also use a comunication tool that we all know, Workplace by Facebook. We get feedback from other team members through instant messaging. Every day when I look at our Workplace groups I see team members encouraging one another, serving one another, and celebrating the little victories that turn into big victories over time. That's cool.

2. Stop and Celebrate the Wins

Hopefully you are tracking metrics and setting SMART goals that will help you grow your business. Having clearly defined initiatives that are achievable go a long way toward motivating your staff. But how can you hit a goal you do not track?

It takes a collaborative effort from leadership, sales, marketing, and fulfillment/production to win new business and deliver on your value proposition. We might be tempted to keep our heads down and grind after we hit that SMART goal or land that account we've been working so hard to attain. We would do well to slow down, acknowledge the effort, and celebrate these wins with our team.

Gather your staff, tell them the good news, and take some time to share the love. Handing out some gift cards, buying some food, or some swag, is a small investment in morale that will pay dividends with more engaged, happier employees. 

3. Defend Your Team from Bullies

Let's face it, some customers are a pain in the @ss. They are demanding, constantly pinch you on price and are perennially unhappy— regardless of how well you serve them. These kind of customers can really wear down your staff over time. When the "customer is always first", your work family will begin looking like a doormat... and eventually will begin looking for another job. You cannot afford to lose your best talent!

As a leader in your organization, sometimes you will need to "say no" to the life-sucking customer or prospect. That takes courage! But no account -- I repeat -- no account, is more important than the work family you hired, trained, and invested in over the years. We're specialists, guys! You're not going to find the talent you need to be successful just anywhere. Stand up for your team, and they will go to war for you. 

Above all, remember:

There's plenty more where that came from!

That little phrase ^^^ will change the way you attack the marketplace. It might even change your life. It's true about customers, it's true about growth, and it's true about gratitude. Lead your team from a position of "plenty" -- not "scarcity" -- and the wins will start piling-up. 

I'm convinced that gratitude and family loyalty will make all the difference to your staff and your customers. It will help you grow your business, and after all, that's what I want for you!

How are you cultivating a culture of gratitude at your workplace? Let me know in the comments below. 

Topics: Best Practices