Why do I need to say thank you to someone for just doing their job?!

PH AppreciationDoes that headline shock you…or do you agree? I’ll admit that when I started doing a bit of research on workplace appreciation, the idea that people wouldn’t find value in giving appreciation, or see the importance of saying thank you to a staff member, was not even remotely on my radar. I just naively assumed that everyone recognizes the importance of it, but perhaps aren’t that great at doing it.

What I learned instead is how many people do not believe that appreciation is necessary or worthwhile: 70% of employees say they receive no praise or recognition! WTF – I had no idea.

This of course got me thinking about my own actions and beliefs…what do I do and what have I been doing? Do I do a good job of showing appreciation to my team members? Maybe all of the thank you’s that I KNOW that I spout out are all hopelessly wasted, and not at all what my employees are looking for. What else could I be doing, how else can I show my teammates that I value them? Because I WANT them to feel valued and appreciated. I WANT them to know that I couldn’t do what I do without them. And I KNOW that by sharing my appreciation with them, I will get better performance and commitment from my staff, because they will feel a deeper drive to go the extra mile for me and for our organization. When my team feels better about me and their work, their loyalty will grow, and they will work harder for me in the long run, and guess what? Ultimately that positively affects my bottom line as a business owner.

What do you think? If you’re still not convinced, or if you aren’t sure where to start, here are some thoughts around showing appreciation and cultivating a rich and positive culture throughout your organization. And let’s face it, no one ever complains about feeling too appreciated at work!

  • It starts with you. You need to set the example and find opportunities to give praise. I truly find this hard sometimes, and I think it might be because I’m hard on myself and don’t often find time to recognize my own good work. A suggestion would be to take a moment every day to write down something great that you accomplished, which might help to break down any barriers you have about finding something great to say about your teammates. The more you do this, the easier it will get, I promise!
  • Lose the “buts”. It can sometimes seem like a natural way to give praise is to mix it with a suggestion, but try to avoid saying things like “That was a great job, BUT if you could just make these 5 changes then it would be even more awesome.” Ending your praise with “but” doesn’t really feel like praise. Try to look for solid opportunities to give positive encouragement for a job well done without any additional feedback.
  • Treats. Everyone loves to receive a little treat; I know I love to receive one now and then. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but the occasional delicious tray of food, small gift, flowers, or tickets to an event can go a long way towards making someone feel recognized and appreciated. For people who don’t like public praise, a nicely written note that they can read at home might be just the thing.
  • Empowerment. Giving your team the ability to make decisions, offer suggestions, and feel like valued contributors to a project or problem is a great way to show that you value them and their ideas.
  • Appreciation Programs. Feeling particularly inspired to crank this up a notch? Why not create a more formal and regular rewards program that recognizes your team for a job well done, which can include both public and internal recognition for completing a project, meeting a goal, or just for kicking ass on something specific.
  • It’s not all up to managers. While employees might feel that it’s up to their manager to give them positive feedback, I think it’s equally important for teammates to recognize and praise their colleagues, and heck…why not praise your boss if they just pulled off something great! Building a positive culture certainly does need buy-in at the top, but think about how awesome it could be if everyone was committed to doing this together?!
  • Monetary appreciation. I’ve focused a lot here on non-monetary appreciation, as I believe that making your staff feel appreciated does not have to be expensive, and that you might truly have a stronger culture if it is built on trust and positivity as opposed to money…but compensation is certainly very high on many people’s list of ways to show them they are appreciated. If paying top dollar is not what your company can do at the moment, then consider offering flexible work schedules, the ability to work from home occasionally, or some other type of benefits instead. If you can afford to, you can certainly add in profit sharing models or bonus structures.

It’s important to show your recognition and appreciation for people’s work, and whether you are a startup or a huge organization, you can find lots of appropriate and creative ways to do this. My advice is start today. Don’t make it overly complicated or tedious – it doesn’t need to be. Here’s a suggestion: order lunch for your staff tomorrow…or bring in some donuts in the morning. Choose one person and go thank them right now for something awesome he or she did today.

I just took my own advice and sent a quick note to an awesome team member who has been kicking ass today and told her what a ROCKSTAR she is…(you know who you are, awesome lady!)

It’s Bike to Work Week!


Announcing PH’s Inaugural Event!

PH is pleased to present our inaugural workshop event:

Beyond Compare: Free Yourself from Comparison and Succeed on your own Terms.


As promised in our blog from last week, we have officially launched our inaugural “PH Workshop”, the purpose of which is to bring great speakers and great ideas to our community. Our very first workshop will feature Lauren Bacon, a local entrepreneur, author, and coach. 

Workshop Summary:

It’s easy to fall into the habit of thinking other people have it all together. Our culture loves to hold people up as stars, gurus, experts – models of success and perfection. And really there’s nothing wrong with admiring and appreciating others, except when it leads us to forget that we are creative, successful and complete in our own right.

Beyond Compare is a workshop for people who want to quit comparing themselves to others and feeling like they’re falling short. You’ll reclaim the incredible creative power that gets lost when you fall into the habit of hero-worship or envy.

This workshop is designed for those who find themselves distracted by other people’s versions of success — who struggle to feel confident and focused on their own path, and instead look to heroes and role models to show them the way.

By the end of the workshop, you will understand how to …
: Transform your admiration or envy into clarity on what you want more of;
: Make the act of comparison work for you rather than against you; and
: Turn your focus back to yourself and rekindle your creative fire .

And best of all, you’ll have a template you can re-use anytime you catch yourself slipping into old habits.
Get ready to escape the comparison trap!

If you are interested in attending this exclusive event, please email us directly at hello@projecthouse.ca!

Happy Victoria Day!


Project House interview with Lauren Bacon

lauren_bacon-project-houseOn June 18, Project House will be launching our “PH Workshops”, the purpose of which is to bring great speakers and great ideas to our community. Our very first workshop will feature Lauren Bacon, a local entrepreneur, author, and coach. Stay tuned for details, either by watching this blog space, or better yet, by signing up for the Project House e-newsletter on www.projecthouse.ca!

Heidi had the great pleasure of talking with Lauren about the content of her upcoming Project-House hosted workshop, Beyond Compare: Free Yourself from Comparison and Succeed on Your Own Terms.

HE:       Hi Lauren, thank you for meeting with me today. Project House is presenting your workshop on June 18th, and we’re so excited about it. The workshop you’re going to present to us is part of a bigger coaching program that you have been developing. Can you tell me about the ideas behind the idea of comparison?

LB:        This came about because I was in conversation with a colleague of mine named Tanya Geisler. One of the things that we hit up upon is the phenomenon of comparing our insides to someone else’s outsides. We look at somebody else who is maybe in our professional field, or in some other area of our life where we look up at them and admire them, and then we get into this place where we perceive that the other person is doing so much better than me, and what am I doing wrong? We started exploring that, and how some people trigger that for us, whereas with other people we might just want to celebrate with them. What we noticed was in some cases there’s this feeling of connection and empathy, and in other cases there’s a feeling of disconnect and wanting to distance ourselves.

We’ve developed a self-study program called Beyond Compare, which digs much deeper into this issue and explores why we compare ourselves to other people and how we can shift away from that. The gold within that for us is some amazing insight that we can glean into ourselves, as well as huge growth potential when we shift away from ‘looking up to’ and ‘looking down on’ other people.

HE:       You wrote, “The freedom that comes from choice is the reason we created Beyond Compare.” What choice is that?

LB:        It shows up a lot in “the social media thing” where you might get into a particular professional area and subscribe to all the competition’s newsletters so that you can keep on top of what everybody’s up to, and then you see that person’s got a program launching, and this person just launched a line of stationery, and these other people are doing this event series. And oh my god, I should be doing workshops and launching stationery and doing all of these things. And instead of focusing on what you actually wanted to do, you’re playing this kind of mental catchup game and then you never get anything done because you’re so wound up. So that’s the choice piece. Instead of focusing on the infinite multiple choice exam that is presented to you in your inbox every day, you actually start with “what matters to me?”

What we’re going to focus on is admiration, envy, and celebration. We’re going to look at some people that you admire, perhaps some people who you feel some degree of envy towards or perhaps simply people who you look up to, maybe they might be people you put on a pedestal. And we’re going to do some exercises to kind of distil what the qualities in those people are that attract you, and we’re going to figure out where they reside in you.

It’s funny, I always choose different people every time I sit down to do it. So it’s like okay, who’s blowing my mind today. It’s going to be different from who was blowing my mind a month ago. And yet whenever I look at the list, the qualities are very consistent, for example it’s often that the people I admire are artistic, or creative, or I often admire people who seem not to care what other people think.

HE:       Do you think this topic or this way of looking at things resonates more with men or women, or is it universal?

LB:        I feel that with women, the cultural pressure on us is huge around our femininity, on our appearance, our mothering, our daughtering, our sistering, our friendship – it’s like with all of the roles that we play, we’re feeling this pressure to be amazing at each of them. So it’s kind of overwhelming.

Part of the design of the program is intentionally built so that it provides you with tools that you can come back to again and again as you need to.

HE:       And is the goal to stop comparing all together, or is a little bit actually good?

LB:        What we want people to experience is how quickly you can shift from disconnect into connection. There’s a lot of value in having that analytical mind that is setting up a comparison. There’s value in me saying, “Oh that person parents differently than I parent. Are they doing anything I want to integrate into my parenting or not?” That assessment is really important. So we’re not getting rid of that. We’re just getting rid of the piece where I go “oh that person’s parenting is really different”, and that’s terrible.

HE:       What can people look forward to taking away on the 18th?

LB:        They will leave with a really clear sense of why it is that they’re comparing, and what it is that truly matters to them about whatever the issue is that they’re comparing around. What they’re already doing right, and what they can do more of if they would like to.

HE:       Which is a big part of it, right? It’s not just corrective, it’s also important to build on the good stuff.

LB:        Exactly. And building with the set of tools that they can reuse again and again whenever this comes up again, because it will show up again and you can use the same tools every time.

HE:       Thank you so much, Lauren. We’re so excited that we are able to create a venue to share you and your experience with more people. And also a big thank you for being our inaugural workshop leader. We’re thrilled and really touched that you said yes to us.

LB:        I’m touched as well! Yay.

HE:       High five.

LB:        [Laughs] Thank you.

Lauren Bacon is on a mission to help business leaders become more joyful and generous. A seasoned entrepreneur, published author, and business and leadership coach, Lauren coaches startups, entrepreneurs, and leaders of all stripes – asking lots of questions, and employing her unending curiosity to help people and organizations get clear on their purpose and realize their visions. Her writing on business, technology, and leadership has been featured on The Atlantic, Women 2.0, Quartz, The Huffington Post, and Fast Company – and her bestselling first book, The Boss of You: Everything a Woman Needs to Know to Start, Run, and Maintain Her Business, got props from both Bust Magazine and The Financial Post. Lauren’s e-book, Curious for a Living: How Asking Better Questions Makes You Indispensable, launched in November 2013. 

Please stay tuned for news about the upcoming Project-House hosted workshop, Beyond Compare: Free Yourself from Comparison and Succeed on Your Own Terms, on June 18th.

Hope to see you there!


Project Spotlight: Brew. Distilling Mindful Leaders.

Over the past several months we have had the pleasure to work with three amazing women who share a combined goal of wanting to provide leadership and growth strategies for men. With all the focus on women as leaders, they feel there is a gap in what is available to men in this area, and so together they set out to do something about it.

Judy Brooks, Mary Prefontaine and Sharon Duguid have co-created Brew, a unique leadership experience that is held as a weekend group offsite retreat and hosted in a natural setting in beautiful Whistler, BC. The response to this program has been outstanding, and they have already expanded the work globally, and will also launch a similar program for women in September 2015, so the work to awaken inspired leaders continues!


Project House came on board to help the Brew team pull together the workshop logistics and materials for these amazing retreats. We have expanded their branding into a variety of areas, including binders, portfolios, document templates, presentation boards and PowerPoint presentations. We also prepare the detailed Brew Workshop Binder given to each participant at the beginning of the retreat. We are truly inspired to be working with these amazing women, and excited to be providing them support in a variety of areas.

Heidi and I will also be participating in the Brew women’s retreat in September and we are looking forward to seeing the experience from the other side of the table!