Leading with Gratitude

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: This week we are sharing our interview with Chester Elton, co-author with Adrian Gostick of the book, Leading with Gratitude.

What I think is interesting about Chester is he and his co-author created a book that I think a lot of people are familiar with, The Carrot Principle. What they found was quite enlightening.

People have talked about gratitude for so long but being able to measure it is so important. Many, many people have tried to do that. However, in this particular book, they take the misapplied and misunderstood skills in business that are essential in making any business work and that’s gratitude.

So, today Chester is going to solve the mystery of this gratitude gap. He is going to share insights from their book.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Chester, welcome to the call. We were just talking about the fact that you are back right in the middle of everything with the COVID 19.

One of the things that Cathy and I both always want to zero in on is some of the key emotions that people are having especially now with the pandemic and us being experts around emotional intelligence and coaching.

What do you notice going on now? You are right in the middle of the epicenter.

Chester Elton: We are, we live in Summit, New Jersey, just across the river from New York City and of course I have many dear friends in New York and relatives as well.

I think Governor Cuomo has done really a good job of upping his communication. He jumped on this as quickly as I think as anybody did. In locking down the bars and restaurants, telling people to shelter in place, trying to get as many supplies to the hospitals and so on.

The unique thing for us is my daughter-in-law actually works at Overlook Hospital here in Summit. So, she gives us regular updates.

She is a labor and delivery nurse. You can imagine giving birth in the middle of a pandemic, how stressful that would be. As well as, she says look, we go down to the ER and everything and the people there really are exhausted.

So, all these things about people clapping and honking their horns and we have these little rainbow signs in our neighborhood thanking the health care workers. Really, we cannot thank them enough. Not only are they pulling double and triple shifts and are exhausted, but they are also literally putting their health on the line to keep us safe. Their work is heroic in every sense and definition of that word.

Dr. Relly Nadler: You know, both Cathy and I have worked in health care and worked with physicians. One of the things, I have a book – co-author – around physician burn out and what you are saying Chester is so true. These folks are the top 1% of intelligence but really compassion. In just that, I have so much respect for them.

And now everybody is seeing it.

It has always been that way but with a pandemic, now it’s becoming front row and we are all seeing it.

Chester Elton: And to your point, you know, that emotional stress, Relly, I mean literally in New York now. Hundreds of people are dying every day. And the emotional toll that that has to take on you is extraordinary. They have let us know that this week and next week are going to be the worst of weeks. So, this is the time that people really need to hunker down, be really careful and make sure they have their social distancing.

And thank you for your good work with doctors and physicians, they need every bit of help they can get right now. So, thank you.

Dr. Relly Nadler: I have a partner who is an emergency room physician. There really are two crises, you’ve got the pandemic but then you’ve got burn out on top of it. I mean they were already burned out. 50% of physicians burn out. That was before the pandemic.

We can’t say enough about that, especially if we are talking about gratitude in general.

So, say a little bit about this book. We actually had your co-author, Adrian on years ago around The Carrot Principle. So, say a little bit about what you guys do and then some of the research and we will get into talking about gratitude especially now as we want to dial up the gratitude like we are already doing.

Chester Elton: Absolutely. We love The Carrot Principle, in fact, orange is our favorite color. Carrots are orange and I only have orange socks. If you ever meet me in person. We love that book because it really did bring forward the power of recognition in the workplace. Well, Leading with Gratitude really is the Carrot Principle 2.0. It is that next level of what you would call Emotional Engagement.

We wrote a series of Carrot books and then we very quickly migrated to culture. Wrote a wonderful book called,  All in – How the Best Leaders Create a Culture of Belief that Drive Big Results, which was also a New York Times bestseller. As we broke down culture, of course, recognition and gratitude were key elements. We took a deep dive on teams with a book called, The Best Team Wins.

We even developed our own assessment, a motivators assessment to find out what the key motivators of people on your team at work. Well the natural progression for us was, the culture starts with the leader. The way the leader acts, she gives everyone else permission to act the same way. As we started to take a deeper dive into appreciation or recognition, we landed on gratitude.

That was the emotional connection.

We were able to take a look at some of these remarkable leaders that we have come to know and love. I can’t tell you who the founder of Texas Roadhouse Restaurants is but she/he is doing a remarkable job keeping people in engaged and employed. With 70,000 employees, they have yet to lay off 1 employee and that’s a restaurant. By the way, restaurants are closed.

Right? They are doing curb-side.

All the things they are doing to keep his employees engaged.

Alan Mulally saved the Ford Motor company.

One of my favorites is Garry Ridge who is the CEO of WD-40. I know you have a can, Relly, I know you do. Everybody does. And how he led his company through the last recession and doing it again.

The list goes on, and it was really interesting as you looked at the tremendous growth that these companies went through. Their primary focus was on their people.

Alan Mulally, love ‘em up. It’s all about your people, love ‘em up.

Garry Ridge, it’s all about, we are a tribe. A tribe cheers for each other. We defend each other. We look out for each other.

And then, Ken Chenault at American Express, he said, look, especially in hard times, you’ve got to amp up your gratitude. By pulling back gratitude in a crisis, you are shooting yourself in the foot.

Really a lot of affirmations, not just good stories. Stock market going up, profitability going up, engagement going, on and on and on.

So, thanks for asking that. That’s the long answer to your short questions.

Listen to the entire interview above.


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