A CultureLaunch Live Thanksgiving: Why gratitude is good for you

Gratitude is such an energizing, motivating, culture-building emotion to express. So why is it so hard for some leaders to just say ‘thank you’? 

Google People Analytics Manager
David Shanklin

We invited Google’s David Shanklin and CultureIQ Program Manager Aria Walfrand to CultureLaunch Live to talk about the value of gratitude, and what can happen when leaders withhold it, on our Thanksgiving episode Nov. 20.  

“Gratitude is a form of feedback. And I think everyone would agree that feedback is really important thing for folks and something you have to do in an organization” said Shanklin, a CultureIQ alum who is now Google’s People Analytics Manager.  “When you express gratitude, your’re recognizing good behavior, and you’re likely to get more of it. So it’s a really impactful feedback tool.”

Walfrand said saw Shanklin apply this philosophy first-hand when she worked for him at CultureIQ, and it took her by surprise. “I will never forget the first time he said ‘thank you’ to me – it took me back. You hired me to do the job. Why are you thanking me for doing what you asked me to do? It was so strange to me.” But as gratitude became a regular part of Shanklin’s feedback, “it switched something in my mind…to where I was quite motivated,” Walfrand says. 

CultureIQ Program Manager
Aria Walfrand

Walfrand says her background in the finance industry didn’t include a lot of direct thanks, Many business cultures are “just not used to integrating that kind of personal connection or willingness to be a little bit vulnerable because gratitude is expressing some kind of vulnerability,” she says. But as gratitude became a regular part of Shanklin’s feedback “it switched something in my mind…to where I was quite motivated,” Walfrand says.

“Conversely, people don’t like having difficult conversations, but it made difficult conversations that you and I have had to have in the past a lot easier because we’ve built that foundation where you were vulnerable enough to show …thankfulness and gratitude,” Walfrand says.

There’s a lot more we say in our Thanksgiving episode about how gratitude is good for organizations, employees and even the people handing out the thanks. Watch it here, and get the gratitude flowing in your working life. Watch the Zoomcast below, and we’ll see you on Dec. 4 for our next episode!

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