Thursday, November 1, 2012



I'm a great believer in the value of thankfulness as a leadership tool and as a personal leadership value. For me this manifests itself in the way I communicate with people, the way I end my email messages, the way I begin and end any speech, and in personal interactions with members of my team and those I work with and for.

Now, I find great value in having some prompts in these situations -- and a number of years ago I came across a fairly simple exercise in the practice of thankfulness. I don't recall exactly where this came from. I've done a number of Google searches and haven't been able to find it but it is a fairly simple principle and it is based around ten pennies. The idea here is that you put ten pennies in a pocket and every time you have an opportunity to say thank you, after doing so you take one of those pennies and move it to the other pocket. The entire exercise is moving those pennies from one pocket to the other and back. It acts as a way to keep score.

Very quickly you find you don't need the pennies anymore. This becomes part of your practice. I still use this [technique] as a prompt from time to time. You don't have to use pennies, you can use any currency. In the U.S., if you want something a little weightier, dollar coins do a great job as well. You really feel that you have them in your pocket, they are a good weight there. Also, as opposed to pennies, the dollar coins let you buy a cup of coffee or two for people along the way... so they have a little bit more tangible value if you find you need them.

I'd encourage you to give the ten pennies exercise a try. It goes beyond simply thanking the members of your team and thanking others; it also encourages a spirt of thankfulness in yourself. I find tt makes me more effective throughout my work and professional life... having that thankfulness focus.

In that spirit thank you for spending a bit of time exploring this leadership tool with me. I'd be thankful for any feedback. You can comment on the video or send me an email:

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