Please Pass The Gravy!

Thanksgiving traditions-I’m sure each of you have them in your family.  For the past twenty years or so I take Thanksgiving week off.  Not to relax but to prepare for the festivities at our Amagansett home. For me shifting gears from running my business to running a holiday kitchen for family and friends who are not only dinner guests but also houseguests for one to three nights is daunting.  However it’s a labor of love and I like many of you do those things that keep family together.  So now it’s a few days after Thanksgiving and all of a sudden the rush is on.  Chanukah is here this week and Christmas comes in a little more than 25 days.  The challenge this year is igniting our holiday spirit, and gift giving when pockets are less than full. No matter how I prepare, as soon as Thanksgiving is over the frenetic Christmas season begins.  Its as if we have no control-it just happens.  We are bombarded with advertisements and the pressure to buy.

Earlier today I heard about two stories that inspired me, which I’ll mention in hopes of sharing that inspiration.  One was this billionaire’s pledge, which Warren Buffet and Bill and Melinda Gates have initiated.  This has now gone global.  I encourage you to go to ABC’s This Week website to view this show. CLICK HERE

The second inspiring story took place in 1933 at the height of the depression when an anonymous business man in Canton OH took out a small ad in the local newspaper and asked people to write in if they needed money.  Hundreds did and they received the equivalent of what would be $100.00 today.  No one ever knew who he was until his family found info in an old suitcase.  Descendants and one actual recipient got together recently to celebrate. CLICK HERE

In the midst of a deep recession (although some have experienced it as a depression) instead of helping people come together and share their creativity with one another we are rapidly moving into a buying frenzy.  What would happen if department stores would remind people to spend within their budget? I envision an ad campaign that says something like “Yes, we want your business today but we don’t want you buried in bills tomorrow.”  Wouldn’t that garner loyalty?  I’ve heard some stores have reinstituted lay away programs.  I’m all for that.

You might ask what has any of this to do with building engaged organizations?   I think a great deal.  What kind of frenzy exists at your company? The stress is on.  Work needs to get done.  Recognize you and your employees are entering one of the most stressful periods of the year.  Fuses might be short.   Remind people to breathe. Your employees might benefit from some lunchtime brainstorming about gift giving.  Perhaps people could help one another out by sharing ideas or helping each other make gifts.