As we approach the end of the year we are rushing to get our Christmas shopping done, our books closed and our desks ready for the inevitable year-end security sweep (you knew about that right?). But there are a few things we sometimes forget that we really should think about doing just to make sure we leave the year with our social debts paid.
Here is my list of things to do before the end of the year.
Personally thank that person who came through for you and didn’t have to
We all likely had at least one person who didn’t report to us or wasn’t even in our line of business who came through for us during the year. Maybe they simply rushed through a report so we could meet our deadline or backed us up when we said a problem wasn’t our fault. These are the folks who did the right thing even though no one would have said anything had they not. You should not only thank them personally, but send a quick note to their boss pointing out how invaluable they were to your efforts.
Recognize the vendor who hit a home run
We often focus excessively on vendors that don’t come through for us, forgetting the ones who did. For the folks who met or exceeded their milestones, who got the job done on-time and on or under budget, take a moment to pen a quick note, and if you are allowed, volunteer to be a reference for them. If you want vendors to come through for you it is very powerful to have both a carrot and a stick, and this kind of thing provides a great carrot to help ensure they come through for you again. Some vendors actually use analytics to rank their customers and the higher ranked you are the higher your priority when a problem results or a feature is being considered. It is moves like this that can pay dividends in the future.
Call out the vendor employee who goes the extra mile
One of the things folks constantly complain about is that their beloved service person or account manager has been laid off or left your vendor for some unknown reason. Often it is because they weren’t appreciated and their management made them into an avoidable expense or didn’t give them the raise or bonus they’d busted their butt for. If you care about them being treated well make sure you call out these folks to their management, and maybe suggest that if they were to suddenly become unhappy and leave you’d start looking for another vendor entirely. You’ll find that folks you take care of like this will generally take care of you.
Thank your admin or special employee
If you have an admin or employee that really kicked butt during the year, even if you plan to give them a bonus and raise, make sure you recognize them preferably publically before the end of the year.
Employees get wandering eyes either wanting to move to other departments or companies and, if they are good, they’ll likely be able to find a job that pays better. But if you show loyalty to them they are more likely to show loyalty to you and there is nothing worse than losing a great employee because they thought they were unappreciated. I’ve been there, you don’t want to.
Walking the talk
To follow my own advice, I’d like to thank Fred Abbott, my business manager, without whom I couldn’t do this job, Jessica Mularczyk my PR expert who handles a lot of the day-to-day drama, and particularly my wife Mary who continues to stand by my side through thick and thin while doing a lot of the stuff I really hate doing myself. And thanks to all my editors, I know I can be a total pain to edit at times and you’re what makes what I write sing. Without all of you I wouldn’t be here!
And to everyone have a wonderful holiday season, and even if you aren’t thanked it doesn’t mean there aren’t people like me who appreciate what you do.