When the often-harsh environment of business life intersects with the love of familial relationships, gratitude becomes even more crucial for success. In his book The Soul of the Family Business, Tom Hubler talks about how within family businesses, a lack of intergenerational gratitude can cause strife and unhappiness:
“Adult children in a business family love their parents but take them for
granted. They fail to express thankfulness for what their parents have
done to help them be successful. Parents also take their adult children
for granted by failing to express appreciation for their commitment to
the family business.” – Tom Hubler, The Soul of the Family Business
While it’s fundamentally important for employees and ownership of any business to express gratitude to each other for their contributions, we can see that this becomes especially true with family businesses, where these professional relationships often come home with every employee.
“Thanksgiving is good, but thanks-living is better” – Matthew Henry (English author and minister)
A family friend once mentioned that at a recent Thanksgiving dinner she had requested that her extended family go around the table and recall one thing they were truly thankful for. Most of the family was taken aback by the request for this once-common ritual, and when persuaded to continue, most family members gave either shallow or humorous answers—a response clearly born from being ill at ease with the expectation of sincere statements of gratitude. Many members of this family had seemingly lost their ability to display gratitude, or even allow themselves to genuinely feel gratitude or thankfulness!
The reality is that far too many of us fail to understand that feeling and showing gratitude are skills that are not wholly innate—they must be learned, practiced, and maintained regularly. Learning and practicing a grateful life is mostly a matter of consciously paying attention to how you think about and express gratitude. Consciously reminding yourself to give thanks and display gratitude on a daily basis, living in the moment and being part of your surroundings, and finding opportunities to use your blessings to “pay it forward” either by offering your time, your talents, and—yes—even your money are all straightforward ways to live a life of intentional gratitude.
By paying attention to how your interact with the concept of gratitude, and working consciously to live a thankful life, your family business (and your business family) can more successfully build on each others’ strengths and drive the organization to greater and greater heights. To learn more about making gratitude the cornerstone of your successful family business, read Tom Hubler’s new book, The Soul of the Family Business: A practical guide to family business success and a loving family, available in hardcover form on Amazon.com, directly through Itasca Books, or at a bookstore near you. And of course, you can always contact Hubler for Business Families today to set up a free orientation meeting with Thomas Hubler, the expert on family business planning.