Did you see the movie “Valentine’s Day” last year? There’s a scene in the film where a bunch of friends get together in a restaurant to celebrate their annual “I Hate Valentine’s Day” party. Apparently, none of them were feeling the love.

Been there done that! But now we know better…Valentine’s Day has always been about telling the special people in your life how much you care about them. It’s not just a day for lovers – it’s a day for friends and family too. Despite the fact that the whole business has turned into a Hallmark Holiday, it’s still an opportunity for all of us to tell the special people in our lives how much we value them.

‘Value’ is a key component to the philosophy of ownership in thepowerserve™. Years ago, Brenda and I were asked to develop an Incentive Program for an organization of about 100 employees. During our initial consultation, we discovered that management actually knew very little about their employees. So instead of recommending a program that offered trips and other perks for performance, we designed a short and simple strategy that had one goal: get to know your people.

Leaders have a tendency to get in touch, provide positive feedback and bring on the motivational stuff when the company is faced with a challenge: a big project, a new demanding client, a downturn in the economy, etc.  And while employees will generally respond to your initiatives, they will also be aware of the fact that you waited until there was a motive to inspire them. The result? The value of recognition is minimized.

Don’t wait to connect with others. The best motivation for most of us is respect, appreciation, encouragement and support all of the time.  In a culture like this the employees are more likely to ‘manage up’ and collaborate with management to own the challenge of the day.

What are you doing right now to connect with your team, your customer, your donor? Are you waiting?

Here’s a thought to consider: how we deliver our service (whether it’s filing papers, designing products, serving customers, or leading a team) reflects who we are.  In today’s terminology, it builds our Personal Brand.

Chocolates for the staff on Valentine’s Day are fun, but they taste better when they are another great thing people like about their work.