We all know the story of the Pilgrims in 1621, who celebrated after their first harvest. This wasn’t a particular holiday, though – these Pilgrims were used to regular days of thanksgiving as a religious practice. This, in all likelihood, was one of many they celebrated.
George Washington started the idea of Thanksgiving as a holiday in November with a proclamation in 1789. Then again, in 1795 he set the national day of Thanksgiving for February 19th. From Lincoln and onward, Presidents traditionally declared the last Thursday of November as a day of thanksgiving. Franklin Roosevelt moved the date to the second to last Thursday, while continuing the tradition of an annual declaration, because he thought it would increase sales for Christmas. (Here is an early example of Christmas creep!) It wasn’t until October 6th, 1941, where an act of Congress established Thanksgiving as a fixed, yearly holiday.
And a holiday it is! Americans eat the most on Thanksgiving out of all days of the year. More than 45 million turkeys are consumed this one day alone! And more than one billion dollars are spent on turkeys for the holiday, too.
Thanksgiving As Project Management Value
Thanksgiving is also a value for project management. Our profession is all about getting things done. We can forget to reflect on what went into a successful project. People gave their best efforts. The late nights, and the mad scrambles to finish on time – sometimes we take that for granted, but we should not! It’s important, as a project manager, to be thankful and show gratitude to those who worked hard and made it happen.
Gratitude goes a long way. Sometimes it takes the form of feedback – “Good job, Brad, the numbers on the last report look amazing!” Sometimes it’s that personal phone call you make to a vendor, who got the job done on a rush deadline. Other times, it’s as simple as remembering to thank your team for a job well done after the project finishes. Whatever the particular application of it is, project management runs on relationships. The more gratitude you have, and express, the better your relationships will be. And as a project manager, the more effective you will be as well.
Team Building With Gratitude
Gratitude is a core component for effective team building. People like to be appreciated. Having gratitude, rather than a “this is your job” attitude, goes a long way. Expressing gratitude, even with just some kind words, is effective, and important. Managing people is never an easy task, and managing people within a project is a more difficult one. Gratitude helps you accomplish your goals, motivate your team, and build a reputation as a good person to work for. And it gets things done, too. Win win.