The Bregman Leadership Podcast
Episode 189

Chester Elton

Leading with Gratitude

Do the people around you feel like you express enough gratitude for them? Chances are they’d love more. Gratitude can lead to increased engagement, and yet, many leaders feel reluctant or don’t know how to convey it in a genuine way. That’s why Chester Elton has returned to the podcast this week to discuss his newest book (co-written with Adrian Gostick), Leading With Gratitude. Discover how to offer appreciation in a way that is genuine (and doesn’t take up all your time), the important role of empathy, and how to manage the feeling of “inauthenticity” when integrating daily gratitude behaviors.

About

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Bio: Chester Elton has spent two decades helping clients engage their employees to execute on strategy, vision, and values. In his provocative, inspiring and always entertaining talks, #1 bestselling leadership author Chester Elton provides real solutions to leaders looking to manage change, drive innovation, and lead a multi-generational workforce. Elton’s work is supported by research with more than 850,000 working adults, revealing the proven secrets behind high-performance cultures and teams. He has been called the “apostle of appreciation” by Canada’s Globe and Mail, “creative and refreshing‚” by the New York Times, and a “must read for modern managers” by CNN Elton is co-author of the New York Times and #1 USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling leadership books, All In, The Carrot Principle and The Best Team Wins. His books have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold more than 1.5 million copies worldwide. Elton is often quoted in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Fast Company and the New York Times. He has appeared on NBC’s Today, CNN, ABC, MSNBC, National Public Radio and CBS’s 60 Minutes. In 2017 Global Gurus research organization ranked him as #15 in the world’s top leadership experts and #10 in the world’s top organizational culture experts, and he is a member of Marshall Goldsmith’s 100 Coaches (MG100), pay it forward project. Elton is the co-founder of The Culture Works, a global training company and is a board member of Camp Corral, a non-profit for the children of wounded and fallen military heroes. He serves as a leadership consultant to firms such as American Express, AT&T, Avis Budget Group and Procter & Gamble. He is most proud, however, to be the father of four exceptional children-more exceptional now they’ve grown up and left home.

Video

Transcript

This transcript is unedited.

Peter:

We are lucky today. We have Chester, Elton, my good friend. He has written most recently the book leading with gratitude, eight leadership practices for extraordinary business results. It’s so apt that Chester is the one who wrote this book. He is one of the most grateful people that I know and hanging around him makes me feel grateful just to know him. So it’s really, really fun to be able to talk about this subject with him. He wrote the book with Adrian gastic. They together are the bestselling coauthors of the best team wins the carrot principle and all in which have been published in more than 50 countries. He is definitely somebody who lives his message and I’m always most interested in talking to people who sort of bridge the gap between theory and practice and in terms of leading with gratitude, Chester is one of those people for sure. Chester, welcome to the Bregman leadership podcast again.

Chester:

Yes, thanks for having me back. Always a pleasure.

Peter:

So fun. So you know, you’ve written a bunch of bucks, you have notoriety. Why write this one? What’s this one adding to the conversation?

Chester:

Well, you know, it’s really interesting. We Adrian and I have been studying leadership for well over 20 years now and we’re always interested in what are the characteristics of, of the best leaders and you know, with the mg 100 group that you and I are in, we get to an associate with some really extraordinary leaders. So we know about an engagement database of well over a million surveys. And as we started to dig deeper into what are the differences between the good leaders and extraordinary leaders, it became very evident that difference was never in their hard skills. In other words, you know, they knew how to get business done. They, they, they knew their marketplace, they knew their products. And so the difference between good and extraordinary was always their soft skills. How they could engage people, how they can inspire people, how they get, you know, paint that picture of the future. And so, well, as we dug deeper, we discovered that number one in those soft skills was how they express gratitude. And it was fascinating to us. And that’s really why we said that I miss come to write the book that says, look, if you want to be extraordinary, you have to understand how to express gratitude and that. Interesting.

Peter:

Yeah. And when you say it’s number one, like what does, explain more, you know, based on your research or your sort of analysis of the research, what that means, that it was the number one behavior.

Chester:

Well, when you’re looking at soft skills, you think, okay, I’m a good communicator. You know, that’s a soft skill. I inspire trust that, you know, that’s soft skill. The number one engager for employees around their immediate supervisor or their leader was, I felt valued and appreciated. In other words, I believed what I did mattered and I, I knew that I was making a difference.

Peter:

And that was the number one thing that led people to be more engaged in their working with their teams. Exactly. Exactly. Got it. Got it. I’m so curious about it because it, it seems like it’s the easiest thing in the world to do, right? It costs no money at all. And if it’s the number one driver and engagement, why is there a gap at all

Chester:

Of gratitude? It’s so, it’s so interesting that you bring that up. We, we say that it is common sense, right? What did your mom teach you when you were five years old? Remember to say please and thank you. Right? Clean up after yourself. Don’t push, don’t hit. Don’t bite. Right. Still good advice.

Peter:

Right? The only part of that I remember is don’t bite.

Chester:

Exactly. So what’s, what was fascinating is is that this, and we talk about it in the book, this gratitude gap. So we did this survey and we asked leaders, do you think you’re above average? And expressing appreciation and gratitude, and over 60% said, Oh yeah, I’m, I’m, I’m way above the average. Then we asked their immediate reports and only 23% said, yeah, I agree with this. So we, we call it the gratitude gap. And what I think happens, Peter, is that we just get busy in the workplace. It’s all about, you know, checking the boxes, you know, getting the hard stuff done. Whatever the matrix is, you know, we’re checking the boxes and we talk about, look, we’re, we’re not about self stuff here. We’re about hard stuff. We’re about getting stuff done. What’s interesting is then when you look at some of the practices of the best leaders we looked at, the way they got lots of stuff done was through their soft skills and the, the high engage with their employee. So it was fascinating.

Peter:

You know, it’s, it’s a, it’s interesting because when you, when you tell me about that research, one of the things that occurs to me is, is not just, it’s not enough for people, but there’s often a gap between intention and impact. Meaning I think I’m, I’m expressing gratitude, but on, on the side of receiving it, it might be an insatiable need, meaning I might need, you know, you think I need 10 PR, it’s sort of the, I’m a Gottman research about a male marriage, which says you have to give seven pot. If you want a happy marriage, you have to offer seven positive comments for every one critical comment. And if you do that, it feels like you are overwhelming them with positive comments to a point where it almost feels insincere and yet to the receiver, it’s like you’re just balancing out your positive with your negative. And I think that there’s some misunderstanding when you’re sharing something with how that’s received or taken in. Does that right?

Chester:

I think you’re spot on and really insightful on your standpoint. You know, we do have leaders that actually don’t believe that this is a good motivator. Right, right. So we, we talk about that and it’s really interesting why leaders hold back expressions of gratitude. And if I were as if I were to ask you, what do you think the number one excuses as to why they don’t give a seven to one ratio or give more gratitude, what do you think? Number one, excuses.

Peter:

Yeah, I mean, I think I can think of a whole bunch of excuses and you have a bunch in your book, but I would say probably the number one excuse would be like, I, you know, this is like they’re doing a job that they should be doing anyway and I don’t want them to get lazy and I don’t want them to think that like the way they’re performing is enough because I want them to keep getting better.

Chester:

Right. Right. I, I, why would I say thank you for a job you’re supposed to be doing anyway? Right, right, right. Number one actually is I don’t have enough time. It’s so funny. I, I, you know, I’ve, we’ve got so many things to do, I just don’t have time to do that. And, and I always laugh because I’ll say, well, so you know, Susan’s doing a just a bang up job for you and you just can’t seem to find the time to say, you know what, Susan really appreciate the tremendous work you’re doing and say, well yeah, no part of her job, right? Right. Say, well, you know, then Susan, Susan screws up now how much time, if now you find the time, right. Exactly. That and then New York minute, right? So it is interesting and there are leaders, there are still leaders that say, look, it’s just all about compensation, right?

Chester:

Get the comp right and everything else. You know, as long as we’re paying them and we, the bonus structures there, it works. Like you can buy that kind of engaged in your research says that’s just not true. It’s rarely true. You know, there’s always exceptions, right? Right. Where you’ve just got people where money is their number one motivator. And so don’t, don’t give me a thank you card, give me 10 bucks kind of thing. I’ll tell you one of the fascinating discoveries we had was leading by fear. So there are are those leaders in st Louis I, if I can just put the fear of God in them, they’re going to produce and of course short term, we know that that can in fact work. What was fascinating was we had leaders that were leading by fear that didn’t think they were leading by fear. Right? And what I mean by that is they said, look, I’m just being open and honest. Right? In other words, if we don’t hit the numbers, I’m not sure I can guarantee your job. Right? I’m not, that’s not fear-based. That’s just fact-based, right? Yeah. Well, if you’re the person you’re saying it to, trust me, it’s fear-based. Right,

Peter:

Right. And I think that comes back to that initial conversation we were having about like what you say and how it’s received. Like you, like your, like we, there’s a crisis of empathy in a sense with the crisis of gratefulness, which is a crisis of like, do we really understand what it means to be the other person?

Chester:

Right? And, and when we talk about, so, you know, we’ve talked about all that, the gaps in the, you know, the, the leaders that don’t lead with gratitude. So then obviously we need to do, establish that in the book. And then we went and said, Hey, how do you do it? Well, right? How do you do it? Well, and it’s exactly what you’re talking about. It’s, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s seeing and then it’s expressing what are you seeing, what’s going on? And then to your point, are you expressing it in a way that’s meaningful to the person, right, that you’re giving this?

Peter:

So I joked with Eleanor sometimes my wife that, you know, if it’s got, if there’s, if I’ve got a criticism and you got to do seven to one, seven positive, I’ll say, your hair looks nice. I really enjoyed breakfast the other day. That was a really nice conversation that we had. Wow. I really like that new clothing that’s really awesome. I you listen so incredibly well and the way you express yourself is really fantastic. And I’m really looking forward to dinner tonight and us being together, which I know you set up, so thank you by the way. Why the hell do you blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And it doesn’t really work that way either, right? Like it’s got us. So it really has to come out in genuine ways that, so like the first step is actually having appreciation for things that are going on. Is that, is that right? Or do you, can you skip that step?

Chester:

I don’t think you can, you know we, we, we, we’ve dealt with some really interesting leaders and you know, one of our favorites, and I know you know him well as is Gary rigid, WT 40, right? So you’ve got to create that psychological safety, right? You’ve got to create that, that, you know, when people make mistakes, that it’s safe for them to, you know, tell you those mistakes and you can build on it. Well, it’s the same thing with gratitude. It’s gotta be a safe gratitude zone where it’s, it’s not insincere. I’m not checking people off, off on, off on a list. To your point, here are your seven, wait for the one, right? Cause it’s coming.

Chester:

So this idea of soliciting and acting on input, one of the ways that you express gratitude is my voice is heard. My opinions matter, Matt. Right, right. We talk about, and one of my favorites is assuming positive intent, you know, back to back to Gary and, and a bear’s you’ll leave from, you know, from best buy where he says, look, I, I may be naive. I just assume that people actually come to work wanting to do a good job. And in trying to do a good job, they’re going to make a mistake. Right? And you know what? That’s okay. We can fix mistakes. So rather than have a blame culture, you’ve got a gratitude culture that says, look, I really appreciate your working hard. This didn’t go like reductant. We’d go, so let’s figure it out. Let’s correct it and let’s move on. So this assuming positive intent was such a huge part of creating a culture of gratitude and leading with gratitude that I’m not looking to criticize, I’m looking to, to appreciate and to value when things go wrong, we can figure that out.

Peter:

Right. And to your point, soliciting and acting on input is, is really like, that’s an act of appreciation that doesn’t even necessarily seem like gratefulness. Like it’s not saying thank you, it’s actually listening to someone and acting in a way that says I value you. And it expresses without necessarily even quote unquote, expressing gratitude

Chester:

And, and that that is so important that you point that out because we say, okay, you gotta lead with gratitude. Okay, I’m going to write a whole bunch of thank you cards. Well, I think you should. I think those are nice, right? I’m going to say thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Yeah, that’s good too. To your point is, is that you don’t have to use the words thank you. Or the word gratitude or recognition to express that it’s, it’s that innate emotional connection. And, and the important thing there is, is that that’s understood, right? Right. That you’re tailing to the person. I don’t have to come and say, Hey, thank you so much for showing up today. Right. You know, it’s like, look, let, let’s work on this project together and, you know, we made a mistake and let’s, let’s, let’s work through it. And boy, I really appreciate the way you you work with that customer.

Peter:

So this, this brings me to your chapter on walk in their shoes, right? Which is really about, you know, we’ve, we’ve sort of talked around this a little bit, but it’s about this empathy piece and it reminds me of the story where I was giving feedback to a senior leader in an organization who was a very hard worker and she would, you know, get to the office at six o’clock in the morning and you know, kind of work straight through. And she was very focused and there was a lot of criticism of her that she didn’t connect with people, she didn’t relate to them. And she said, in fact, so much so that when eventually the, just to give you a sense, when you know, I had worked with her and coached her and she had gotten better and now people were saying, yeah, you know, she used to be really scary and now I’m not afraid of her.

Peter:

And her response was, Oh, I hope they’re still somewhat afraid of me like that. Like she wanted, she, you know, she was sort of disturbed that, you know, she had to. But one of the criticisms early on in the feedback was, you know, she passes us on the hall in the morning and doesn’t even say good morning. And when I handed her this feedback, she’s like, it’s so interesting. And honestly, like by the time they get to the office, I’ve been here for three to four hours. So it’s not morning for me anymore. It’s the middle of the day. Like, I’m not even thinking of walking around going, Oh, good morning, because I’m like in the middle of my work day and this goes to this walk in their shoes. Either you’re going to make them come at six o’clock in the morning with you, or if you’re not, then you have to recognize this is their morning. And for you to say good morning to them when it’s not morning for you or you’re in the middle of your Workday, you know, it takes a leap of identification with what their experiences. So I’d love for you to talk a little bit more about like ways that we walk in their shoes because I think that’s a really big one.

Chester:

It is. And you know, the antithesis of that is, again, back to our friend Gary Ridge at WD 40. He gets to the office ridiculously early, right? And then he makes sure he comes down to the front door and greets everybody as they come in the building. So, you know, it’s, he’s very intentional about it and walking, walking in their shoes. You know, I, I love the culture of gratitude at Texas Roadhouse restaurants. We’ve been spending lot of time with them lately. And this idea of that to be a leader, to be an operator, you have to do all of the jobs. You have to wash the dishes, you have to bus the tables, you have to cut the meat, you have to work behind the bar, you’ve got to serve tables. You’ve got to, you know, sweep the floors so that you really do appreciate every little piece that goes into making the restaurant work on a nightly basis.

Chester:

Understanding that, look, you may think, how tough can it be? Wash the fricking dishes, you know what I mean? Just scrape off the, you know, and, and yet when you get into it and you see the volume that comes in or the, the, the whole process that you have to go through to get clean dishes, it makes you a lot more empathetic. It makes sure that you’re not making demands that are just unreasonable, right? And there’s this ivory tower kind of thing. If I know that you know what I do and in fact maybe you’ve helped me do it at a certain point, I’m pretty sure you’re not going to make demands of me or ask things of me that, you know, are impossible, right? You may push me to do it a little faster and do it a little better. That’s all fair. The impossible.

Chester:

And we’ve, we’ve all been in situations like this, right? Where corporate says, well, here are your numbers, so we’ll just corporate have any idea that those are absolutely impossible. Right? Well then I want you to stretch. Yeah. Stretch is one thing, right? Right. Yeah. But out of touches another, and again, to your point, that’s an expression of gratitude without saying thank you or I’m grateful. It’s being sensitive to the fact that here are your resources. Here’s your job, here’s the training, here’s the demands of the customers. Whatever it might be. Here are our expectations, right? And they’re not going to be unreasonable.

Peter:

That’s great. You talk about in, in chapter 13, you say, give it now, give it often. And don’t be afraid. And I think this don’t be afraid thing is, is very important. And maybe I was projecting when I said the number one reason, you know, people don’t give gratitude is because they’re afraid that it might, you know lead to mediocre performance instead of exceptional performance. Talk a little bit about like, what are we afraid of and how to, how to offer gratitude and appreciation in a way that is unafraid.

Chester:

Well, you know, people say, look, what if I praise? You know, Jack and then Tom gets offended because Tom did the same thing and I missed it. Right? Right. So, so, so what’s your solution to that? Well, to do nothing that’s, that’s not a great, that’s not a great plan B. So say, look, don’t be afraid. Know that you’re, you’re gonna make mistakes along the way. And, and the more you know, the more you do it, the better you’re going to get this, this idea that I’m afraid that I won’t do it right? Or I won’t do it often enough, or I might forget someone, those kinds of things. They’re also afraid that, and this is hilarious, but I might actually do it too much, and I love that I said I, you know, we’ve been looking at engagement surveys for well over 20 years consistently.

Chester:

One of the lowest scores on virtually every engagement survey we’ve looked at is I feel recognized and rewarded for the work I do at work. So Gallup actually did a study and they said, so how much is too much recognition in one day? And Peter, they said, it’s 1313 times a day is the limit. Number 14 it starts to tail off just a little bit. And so I love the question when I say, look, you know, we’re, we’re presenting to a big group or doing workshops that, by the way, raise your hand if you’ve ever done this at the end of the day where you’ve gone home to your spouse or your partner, whatever it is, and said, do you know what? I couldn’t get anything done today. Seriously. Every time I turned around it was, thank you for this. Thank you for that. There was a party, there was a cake, there were balloons. Seriously, I got to start working from home because I am over appreciated at work.

Chester:

So these, these fears or I, I don’t have time or I can’t find the time. And so that’s where the fear comes from. Where we break through on that is we say, just start, just start to do it right. You know, we had this executive, we were coaching and we said, look, let’s a soft start, just write three handwritten notes a week that got them to do it in English very proper. And so I followed up with them. I said, did you send your three notes out? And he said yes. And I said, what was the reaction? And he said, well, I was really quite surprised. He said, to sum it up, I’d have to say that their reaction was a shock and awe shock, you know, so

Peter:

Because it’s, well, so what about that, that objection, which is, you know, shock and awe because it’s out of character because they don’t expect it. And as soon as I say it, they’re going to look at me and go, so if you’ve been a therapy recently or what’s going on, or someone in your family is sick, like you know, and, and it’s actually an interesting question related to behavior change at all in organizations, among leaders, when you start to approach things differently. One of the things that people feel is this isn’t authentic to me because, you know, I’m like forcing myself to do it. I’m doing it, I’m doing it because Chester told me to write three letters and, and I think that my personal view is the, your self awareness of that as much greater than someone else’s awareness of that. Meaning you’re, you feel the inauthenticity of changing your behavior to something more positive, whereas other people just feel the positivity. But I’m wondering if you have a different view or if you’ve, you know, if that’s what you see also.

Chester:

Well I think you’re spot on. I think that, you know, we are much more self critical. Like you say, Oh, I’m, I’m, I’m assuming I’m being very disingenuine and people just say, Oh, I just thought that was really nice. I thought you were, you were being kind, cause nothing wrong with that. Right. and I do, I do tell leaders and we do coach leaders and say, look, it’s going to take time and this change doesn’t happen overnight. Right. The more you do it, the better you’ll get. And I love to use the analogy of running. You know, I’ll never forget when my wife Heidi decided she wanted to run and she did it strictly for health reasons and I’m sure at the beginning she hated it. In fact, I know she hated it. And then she got a friend to run with her and you know, early stages, she was a woman that ran.

Chester:

And then the more she did it and the more she got better equipment and then they, you know, nutrition and timing and frequency and distance and so on. There was that tipping point where she went from being a woman that ran to all of a sudden she was a runner. Right. You know what I mean? And then she was running rag NARS and doing these ridiculous, you know, 200 mile relays and so on and, and, and so it’s the same with leaders at first. Are you doing it just because I’m asking you to? Absolutely. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Right. You know, check the box and the more you check the box and the more you do it, it’s, it’s less of what you do. It becomes more of who you are. Right. And that’s again, one of the things that I’m afraid it’s going to take too much time. People won’t buy into it. I go, well let’s give it a shot for three months.

Peter:

What about the gratitude up? Meaning being grateful for your boss, being good for your manager, for your board, for and, and the fear that I imagine people have of it feeling or appearing Brown nosing and you know, like sucking up as opposed to real gratefulness that you feel.

Chester:

Yeah. And, and I think you do need to be a little careful on that. I always say, look, just be very specific. Don’t just say, Hey boss, you’re just the greatest boss. Just love you. I mean, as far as bosses go, you’re number one. I mean, you’re the tower piece, you know, that kind of thing. It’s just say, Hey boss, I really appreciate you taking the time to help me out with that pitch for that client. You know, your coaching, your input was really valuable. Just want to let you know, I appreciate that. There’s nothing wrong with that ground. If, if you attach that note to a Rolex watch and name it to your boss, that’s probably,

Peter:

They’ll be onto you. They’re on to give us some other ways that we can, you know, that’s a great, great piece of advice to be sort of very, very specific, which makes it, you know, which addresses a lot of issues, which is addresses the authenticity issue. It addresses the, you know, are you going to be supporting mediocre behavior because people are going to Slack off? No, you’re actually, you know, really tying it to something very, very specific. What are some other tips that you can give people about how to be grateful? In a way that can be very productive.

Chester:

Yeah. I think timing is very important. You know, it’s the primacy recency thing. The closer the gratitude is to the behavior, the more likely it is to be repeated. You know, if, if, if, and and, and we, we talk about gratitude doesn’t keep, it’s kind of like a banana, right? Like you’ll see something going on and you’ll say, Oh, I’ll remember that. And then at the end of the month when we held an all hands meeting, I’ll call out Peter for doing a great job. Trust me, you will not remember. So a great tip is when you see it, express it, right. You know, do it now because the closer the, the more likely it is to be repeated. Another one is we’ve got this great best practice.

Peter:

And let me just ask you a question about that. Cause I imagine one of the things that makes it easier to give gratitude in the moment is to make less of a big deal than more of a big deal. Meaning to be able to say, Hey, you know, I really love the way you just participate in that meeting. And that point you brought up was really helpful in moving the meeting forward. Thank you. And then you’re done 10 seconds. It’s not like a whole, it’s not a handwritten note necessarily. Right? It’s like a ten second comment in the moment and then you move on and that’s how you begin to get close to your threshold of 13

Chester:

Exactly. Yeah, exactly. And, and I think that’s really, really a great observation that when you do it in the moment, it’s not as big a production. Right? You don’t have to say, Hey, I can everybody gather around. I want to point out. So you know, it’s, it’s very genuine. It’s very in the moment. And you know, one of the triggers I love, you know, our, our friend Marshall Goldsmith wrote the book trigger is set up triggers for yourself, set up a certain goals. We have this incredible leader in Dallas, Texas, where one of his triggers that he would do is he would put 10 coins in his left pocket and he would set a goal just to have 10 positive interactions with his people every day. And he’d keep track by moving a penny from his left pocket to his right pocket. Well, that’s, that’s a simple little trigger.

Chester:

So he wanted to be quicker to recognize and slower to criticize, and that was the way he could kind of keep himself on track. That seven to one ratio, you know, other leaders say, look, I’m going to carve out just a few minutes, either at the beginning of the day or the end of the day and I’m going to write a couple of notes, right? Or I’m going to, I’m a big fan of gratitude journals that just keeps you in that grateful, you know, mindset and, and you’re right, it is, it is a, you’ve got to change your behavior. You’ve got to change your mindset to at the end of the day, just write down three things that you’re grateful for. Knowing that really in the grand scheme of things, we have first world problems. You know, 99% of the world would trade places with you and me in a man. Oh second. Right. You know, and so just say, look, I’m going to put this in perspective. You know, we all survived today. You know, we still have, you know, clean water when we turn on the taps, right? And, and all of these little things that happen all day, let’s be grateful for that. Now I’ll tell you what happens is when you have that culture and when you have that behavior and that mindset, when big things happen, you’re much over, you’re much more liable to get everybody to buy in to solve those problems because they, you’ve built up that, you know, bank of Goodwill, right?

Peter:

Yeah, absolutely. I’m curious why I love, I love this a frame that you have of, you know, like these are problems that, you know, we survived the day we had clean water. Any advice for ways of, and I know you do this well, that’s why I’m asking you for the advice. Like any ways of like, of letting go of these things that get in the way of us showing up as our best selves. Like these little things that prevent me from saying thank you or being grateful because I’m busy or I’m moving super fast and my mind is on 15 different problems I haven’t solved. And like ways of putting that stuff in perspective so that we can access the part of us that is naturally as human beings. Grateful.

Chester:

Yeah. You know where I got that from quite frankly as my father, I mean, he was, he, you know, and two things, two pieces of advice that he gave me that I think I’ve really shaped a lot of the way I look at business and life and relationships. He’d say, you know, happiness is a choice, so choose to be happy. Right. And it’s so interesting, you know, I’ll do simple things in remembering my dad. Like, you know, you and I travel a lot and you’re in airports and you know, there’s, there’s long lines and there’s bad food and there’s delayed flights and so on. And I’ll be walking along and I’ll just think, if my dad were to see me right now, what would he be thinking? And I think I better start smiling because my dad didn’t, didn’t raise mopey kids. Do you know what I mean?

Chester:

And it’s interesting to me that those little triggers of, I’m just going to smile, I’m going to say something kind. I’m going to, I think one of the best ways to get into gratitude mindset is to go appreciate someone else. And simple things. Classic had to get a really early flight. I’m leaving the hotel early. I mean it’s early, you know, it’s like four 30 in the morning. And then of course there’s the guy at the desk because he has to be, and he’s not excited to see me, you know, I don’t. And I’m checking out and I’ve got to do a few things. And by I said, by the way, he said, yeah, he said, I love those extensions on your hair. I mean, he had these incredible braids. I mean, and when you have the haircut, I do. Anybody that’s got hair looks great.

Chester:

And I’m telling you, that simple little comment changed our whole interaction that I noticed something and paid him a compliment. Right? The second thing he’d say is, don’t take yourself so seriously. Right? Like just don’t, don’t take it. He says, you know, there’s, there’s a billion Chinese and a billion Indians that have no idea who you are and could care less, right? So just don’t take yourself so seriously. Have some fun, have some fun. And I think that if you just keep that mindset that I’m going to choose to be happy, I’m going to recognize and appreciate somebody else and I’m not going to take myself too seriously. It just lightens everybody’s load. Is that helpful?

Peter:

That’s fantastic. We’ve been talking with Chester Elton. He wrote the book leading with gratitude. He wrote it with Adrian GasTech, eight leadership practices for extraordinary business results. Chester again, like you are someone who marries theory and practice in this case and and you know, to sort of follow through with that. I’m so thankful that you are in my life and I’m thankful because you, because every time I see you and it’s not just the orange shirts that you wear, it just puts a smile on my face because of your positivity. And also you have some great stories about your dad. So, so thank you. Thank you for being my friend. Thank you for writing this book. Thank you for bringing this into the world, which I think is really important and not not the least. Thank you for being on the Bregman leadership podcast.

Chester:

Oh, it’s always a pleasure, Peter. I can say the same thing about you. I love when we get together, it’s just this explosion of happiness and smiles and you know, just in closing, and we didn’t get to this, but don’t leave your best self at work. Take your best self home. You know, we, we have these great principles and we’ve done all this research and it will create a great place to work. Don’t leave your best self at work, make sure you take these practices. So because at the end of the day, you know, that’s what it should really be important.

Peter:

I love that note and I, you know what though, I also want to say the reverse, which is that we could be really like caring, connected parents and partners and spouses and then we get to work and we’re all business and we’re all professional and we live. And so like don’t leave any part of yourself anywhere, you know, like bring, bring home to work, bring work to home, be a whole person that you know, isn’t in a mask in one place versus another. Because you know, the, the world needs you to be your open and authentic self.

Chester:

Yeah. Bring your best self everywhere you go and you know what? It’s a great way to live. Hey, thanks so much Peter. I, I so enjoy our conversations by my best to your family and all your friends and I hope to see you again soon.

 

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