Gratitude, Success and the Helper’s High

It would be pity to mistake Anzac Day as simply another holiday rather than a tribute to generations of young people, perhaps the same age as some of your own family, who have given their lives so we can enjoy our freedom and our privileged lifestyle. If Anzac Day is about anything, it’s about gratitude and generosity.

Gratitude is a healthy emotion. It keeps us grounded and considerate of others. It also promotes optimism which, according to extensive psychological research, is good for our health and is correlated with many measures of life satisfaction and success. Generosity is also a proven antidote for the world weary and depressed. Scientists who study the biochemistry of the good feelings we have when we show kindness to others, call this the “helper’s high”.

The nun, the franchisees and the bicycles

Keeping with the theme of gratitude and generosity, I’d like to share an experience I had at last year’s Harvey World Travel conference in Vietnam. It was the final day of what had been an inspiring program of speakers and activities. As 300 or so people sat in the large conference room finishing their lunch, Managing Director, David Rivers, announced the suppliers had got together and decided to replace the usual prizes given to high achieving franchisees with a donation to buy bicycles for impoverished local children. Harvey World Travel has for many years supported programs for disadvantaged children, including the Loreto Vietnam-Australia Program.

David revealed the suppliers had raised enough money to purchase 62 bicycles at a cost of $80 each and invited the head of the Loreto Program onto the stage. As Sister Trish Franklin, a small, vibrant woman, gratefully accepted the gift and turned to leave, a franchisee in the audience jumped to his feet and spoke to the room. “Surely we can do better than this. How about each table sees if it can raise enough for an extra bicycle.”

Many heads nodded and there was a buzz of enthusiasm as the room got to work. Ten minutes later a tally was taken around the room revealing an extra 169 bicycles would now be purchased for the children. While this was a fantastic effort, the positive spirit generated by this spontaneous gesture was just as fantastic. There was a palpable sense of pride and joy that I am sure has stayed with the individuals involved. Generous acts are obviously good for the recipients and a company’s reputation. But they also generate a culture of pride, loyalty and commitment, attributes that are often sought, but can’t be bought.

The culture of an organisation is like the character of a person. Culture answers two important questions. “Who are we and what do we stand for?” Just as personal generosity builds a healthy character, corporate generosity builds a healthy culture and pride in the brand. It is worth noting that our latest research has empirically demonstrated that brand passion is positively correlated with customer service, franchise citizenship and financial performance. It would appear that the helper’s high also operates at the business level.

Perhaps while we’re taking it easy on Anzac day we’ll find a few minutes to say a quiet thanks and reflect on how we might bring a little more generosity into our lives.

Until next time,

Greg Nathan

PS. You may have heard we have organised a wonderful program next month that teaches franchisees how to work more “on their business”, improve their profitability and generate a healthier cash flow. It’s called Profit Mastery and you’ll find details on the main page of our website along with information on the 4th National Multi-Unit Summit. Both events are high calibre and will provide enormous value to franchisor executives and franchisees. Perhaps I’ll see you at one of these.

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