There is an absolute golden rule in business as far as I am concerned. So, if my new column is to get off to the right start then this is where to start.
That rule is to always say thank you.
I need to follow my own advice now and say thank you to all who have commented on my return. I appreciate your comments. They have been warming and helpful.
But let me make that point more generically: it's always worth saying thank you. Telling people you care costs you almost nothing. But the payback is enormous. People simply think more of you.
Write notes of thanks. We've even done it to people who pay on time, saying we appreciate it.
Have a macro on your computer that lets you bang out a thank you to emails that need no other response - mine is /tx. All I have to do is type that and thank you is said, my name added and off it goes. But I have to do it. And people know that. And the appreciate it.
If someone has delivered anything in excess of expectation, it takes seconds to say why. When you form the habit of noticing it's always easy to find something.
If you want happy people who like you (and don't we all?) then it's down to you to create that possibility. And don't miss out bosses, suppliers, customers and the people you don't get business from: you never know when you need them next.
Remember this too: reliable research seems to say you can dish out one ticking off for every five positive comments. No positive comments ever then and you're in deep trouble with people when it comes to ticking off time: they'll really resent it. So if you want to tell people when and how to pull their socks up to deliver maximum performance you have no choice but say thank you, often.