Stand strong as a rock in the Fourth Industrial Revolution in 2020!

‘The sum of the values of the executives is in fact the values of the organization.’ – Ulrich Hemel

The person who has become a master in appreciation will stand like a rock in the surf, despite all the ‘violence’ of the Fourth Industrial Revolution or VUCA world. At work and in our professional lives, we need as many managers and professionals as possible, who appreciate masterfully and are thus a tower of strength. Not only for themselves, but also for the people around them. Then, together with the people around them, they build and maintain a strong culture of appreciation. Because if that succeeds in your company, or school, or
hospital, or ministry, or municipality, or club, or church, or whatever, then a healthy, self-confident, innovative and inspiring organization will emerge. An organisation that is able to meet all the challenges of the VUCA world. An organization that built its house on the rock. An organisation that stands strong as the waves of change wash over it. An organisation that has the courage, dignity and resilience to keep reinventing itself.

1. A culture of appreciation
Three years ago, together with a hundred leading physicians and managers from a holding company of a healthcare institution comprised of five hospitals, I worked on their expectation management. The expectations between managers and directors, between managers among themselves, between managers and their employees, the expectations between all employees and their many thousands of patients were mapped out. What did it turn out to be?

You guessed it: at all levels, appreciation was most expected of each other. That is what they needed most! Fred Lee made a similar discovery when he was doing research for his book: If Disney ran your hospital, 9 1/2 things you would do differently. Lee also saw
how especially these three themes are of great importance each time:

  1. Sincere empathy
  2. Sincere appreciation
  3. Being inspired

2. Valuing colleagues
Treat your employees the way you want them to treat your customers.’ – South West Airlines

You build a culture of appreciation gradually, conversation by conversation. Day in and day out. It simply starts at the level of appreciating your colleagues. The implementation of a culture of appreciation contributes enormously to a positive working atmosphere. It causes people to love to come to work. This makes the organisation itself even more valuable.

Through a culture of appreciation, the fear of each other, and of the ‘boss’, disappears. You do not have to prove yourself all the time and you can just focus on your work. After all, you know that everyone has the best interests of the other person at heart. This is particularly evident when managers take the lead in this. In the end, such a culture of appreciation creates a strengthening, positive spiral effect of appreciation.

3. Appreciating customers

‘Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.’ – Mother Teresa

Fred Lee describes in his book If Disney ran your hospital that there are basically five levels of customer satisfaction, and that these all depend directly on the motivation of the employees who are in direct contact with the customers.

  1. The inspired employee. Feels appreciated and becomes a fan and ambassador (brings in many new customers).
  2. The dutiful employee. Feels respectful and well treated (brings in a few new customers).
  3. The professional employee. Feels technically and correctly treated but is not particularly enthusiastic about it (does not bring in new customers).
  4. The uncertain employee. Is dissatisfied, tells others about the incompetence (causing [potential] customers to be lost).
  5. The lazy employee. Becomes (justifiably) angry, feels unjustly treated and is very dissatisfied (as a result of which a lot of[potential] customers are lost).

Only the two highest levels of customer service have a truly positive impact on the success of the organisation. Both levels (the inspired customer and the satisfied customer) grow only through continued sincere appreciation of customers, by all employees.

Tips to grow a culture of appreciation:

  1. Design one small habit of appreciation as leadership team.
  2. Have weekly “appreciation celebrations” in your team.
  3. Write your team and customers a yearly appreciation letter. Include a small and personal gift.


This blog series is written by Paul Ch. Donders, author of his new book, Appreciation.

Restoring the dignity in humanity

Get your copy of the Appreciation Book for R170 today. Courier costs not included. Contact us at 079 434 9030 or