Remembering the "Thank You" Game
Surprises are great. And thank you's are best.
In an industry like property management that requires attention to detail, constant supervision and reconciliation of occasionally conflicting goals between guests and owners it is too easy to forget the little personal things that make life worth living.
Long ago I attended a parent-child basketball camp and had the great luck to meet a man who I now call hero. Having built the largest basketball camp for kids in the United States, Coach's success seems based more on his knowledge and approach to life than on his immense basketball training skills.
At one camp he suggested to everyone they could learn how to be thankful by using his now famous thank-you game. The rules are simple.
You can be in a meeting, watching television or whenever you find yourself in the car with your family, especially on those long boring drives. The games starts by one person mentioning something they are thankful for. Then next person does likewise and so one until everyone has spoken.
The first responses are what you might expect like, "I am thankful for what wonderful children I have." or "I am thankful for having a loving Dad."
These kinds of honesty is not easy for everyone. Some people seldom tell anyone how they feel about things. And complimenting another person directly to their face is a lost art unfortunately.
After each person has spoken you should sneak a peak around the room. Smirking smiles will be breaking out all over the place.
But the game is not over. Because this game goes on until you reach your destination, or everyone is out of ideas. In a car, thank you's may come tumbling out one after another but be separated by pauses and that too is acceptable. Be thankful that there is no hurry. Give everyone sufficient time to dig deeply into their thoughts.
My family once spent over two hours in a car as compliments went round and round. Eventually resulting in "Thankful that the car still has gas" and that "I am sure happy it didn't snow or we would be stuck somewhere."
Does this sound a little mundane? That's OK because the best thank you's come near the end when each person realizes they have so much to be thankful about. My young son once said, "I am thank you for this game because it makes me remember how much I have."
Today I am thankful that the recession wasn't worse that it was. I could say thanks for all the owners and guests who have hung with us as the industry continues rapid change. My thanks for the housekeepers, maintenance people and reservation crew knows no bounds. So many people have been understanding and compassionate and kind. I am very thankful that guest inquiries continue to rise and that our team is in tact and making constant headway.
Of course, not everyone has been pleasant. But maybe that's because no one taught them the thank you game.
So that means this year I have to be thankful because maybe I'll get the opportunity to introduce the game to more people and hope they'll enjoy the great benefits I have received from a kids basketball coach.
Give it a try before the end of the week.
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