“The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.” 

- William James

Like many of our clients, the culture of our family is good, but I want it to be great.  And like many of our clients, we have been working hard on developing the kind of culture that will not only make life better, but encourage others to find the same.

Vacations are always disruptive to our family rhythm.  While we regularly spend more time together as a family than what I hear others do, we aren’t spending all day, every day, together.  Vacation takes a bit of recalibration.  And as an intentional leader, I am always full of ideas and inspirations about how to push the envelope with them given that proximity.

On this vacation, I had it in my heart to push the boundaries on the way we honor and appreciate one another.  I am spending a lot of time with senior leaders encouraging and helping them to honor and celebrate their team members and the progress they are making. 

With all that still needs to be done, leaders sometimes have trouble seeing all the good that is actually happening and all the ground already taken.

Encouragement is the necessary fuel for the rest of your team’s journey.

In order to help our leaders be at their best, I filter a lot of content.  I read books, listen to podcasts, read blogs, watch documentaries, etc.  Our team also keeps our swords sharpened by getting ongoing coach training and additional coaching certifications.  I am always on the lookout for new and inspired ideas.

A friend and client recommended a podcast and book called The Cure & Parents. Fantastic stuff.  I pulled an appreciation exercise from this book that I planned to utilize with our family.  (We actually do a more aggressive and powerful version of this exercise with clients that we learned from the TableGroup folks.)

I gave everyone in the family something to write on in the morning.  I told them sometime during the day, they needed to write down a trait or characteristic they valued in every other person in the family.  It needed to a part of their character and not merely a skill.  They needed to support it with an example of how they saw it exhibited and how it affected them, personally.

After dinner, we had all gathered at a table outside on a beautiful Colorado evening and I asked them to all get out their pieces of paper.

It was beautiful in every way.  Watching my children honor and acknowledge one another was a really incredible experience.  We took real ground that day.  It changed some things, and the rewards were worth the awkwardness and relational currency I had to spend to get this done.  

Even as a coach that regularly helps others do this sort of thing, it was still hard. Hard, but completely worth the effort.  All it takes, though, is a few simple steps:

  1. Get the buy-in from a spouse or other leaders.
  2. Commit to what you are going to do.
  3. Look for the right time and place.
  4. Exercise the courage of your conviction.

Let’s be honest, as leaders, we are not very good at this.  We have to find ways to regularly appreciate and honor those that we lead.  It is a win for everyone and a crucial step in developing a great culture that organically cultivates more of the same.


  • How good are you at honoring and celebrating others? (This is muscle we have to exercise.)
  • Does the culture of your family or organization foster this well?
  • Who do you need to honor and appreciate?  (The right time to do the right thing is as soon as possible.)