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Book Review: The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk

The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk

The jist – Thank your community.

A shoutout – This review is courtesy of my brother. Thank you G for turning me on to Gary, he’s been influential in the way I approach life and grind. I’m pretty blessed to have a brother who motivates, inspires and runs alongside me.

Onto the book.

First, Mr. Vaynerchuk owes me a neck massage. While reading, my head bobs like I’m constantly checking to make sure the sky and ground are still there. His message is simple, straight forward and courageous. I say courageous because there are so many executives, business owners and leaders who are afraid. Afraid to lose control of their brand, afraid to change. When you have courage, you have the ability to stand for what is right, regardless of how hard it is.

When you’re a:

-Leader, part of your job description is to be courageous (even if it doesn’t say it in the black and white).

-Good community member, you talk to your neighbours.

-Great friend, you take care of your friend’s cats when she’s away.

Bingley the Cat trying to read The Thank You Economy

We’ve gone back in time

All of those courageous and kind acts are reminiscent of a time when we said “hi dee ho neighbourino” and waved at the neighbour who was mowing their lawn. As Vaynerchuk points out, consumers used to have a lot of power. Over time, that waned and the consumer didn’t have a customized or even friendly experience with their retailers any longer. They were numbers with dollars and little sense. With the advent of social media, we’re back in the driver’s seat in a different way – and business is slow to respond. Government is even worse. They’re still trying to “engage” with letter drops. (Seriously).

When the consumer has the power, they have the capability to talk. To have an opinion. After being quiet for so long, having a global platform to stand on and either sing praises or expose an injustice is a right.

I think that building these expectations back into our consumerism is a step in the right direction. Being heard is a basic human need and we want to be heard by the people and companies that we invest in. Additionally, putting down a foundation of manners, trust, and courage in our business practices and economy will determine how our next cycle goes. There is a significant shift coming in the workforce and to ignore the direction the ship is turning in is a mistake.

What’s that? Millennials?

Yep, we’re here and we’re most definitely reading these type of books. Those of us who want to grind, who want to work, who want to build our surroundings, are nose deep in these books. Millenials pay attention to where we are going, to what the successes who came before us said to do and, most importantly, we experiment then leverage. We take the time to do something like creating an Instagram account and saying thanks to everyone who gives us a heart. We tweet a thousand times during one election night and respond to others who are also reacting. The reality is that, because we’re more connected, we expect to be able to connect in our jobs, our homes, and our families. At work, we expect that we are going to be good brand ambassadors for the company, if we’re given some latitude to do so.

For example, during a sales job when I was younger, I was activating two cell phones. One for a father and another for his daughter. Usually an activation like this would take an hour, max. Well, turns out this gentleman was new to Canada, therefore he had no credit. The company I was activating him with was risk adverse but I worked with them to get both activated with a reasonable deposit. The total time? 8 hours. Every time the gentleman walked in the store from that day on, he refused to let anyone else help him. We had shopping appointments.

The moral? Anyone who is worth their ilk has their own equivalent of Gary’s wine delivery and making dinner stories.

The question? What’s your story? What has someone profusely said thank you to you for?

These people are your rock stars. You don’t need to worry about them or their work ethic. Likely, those people will grow… and leave the company.

Investing in Others

I learned that people will leave your team. It’s how you welcome new people and thank the ones leaving that matters. Our practice is cake, lunch and a card – no matter if you’re coming or going. Sometimes we have cake because it’s Tuesday. Most importantly, we train and work together as if we’re going to be together forever. We take the effort to build high performing people and treat each other as team members because that’s what we’ve proven we deserve. Vaynerchuk explains why this type of behaviour is imperative to building a Thank You Economy:

“It’s okay if you put this effort into employees and they still choose to leave for bigger and better positions at other companies. You want ambitious people on staff, and it’s inevitable that ambitious people will be on the lookout for new opportunities. Even if they leave, your efforts will not have been wasted, for you will be developing your company’s reputation as a place where people in your field can grow their careers. That’s the kind of reputation that attracts the best and brightest, which is exactly what you want working with you.” (pg 101)

 

The Takeaways

I’m a big believer in takeaways. Any time that I spend intentionally I expect to have a return. With The Thank You Economy, there were so many takeaways that I would simply be giving you the book.

My top five were:

  1. Be human – and remember that you’re interacting with other humans. They aren’t dollar bills and they appreciate honesty.
  2. Companies need a Chief Culture Officer – This person can help take your company from okay to amazing.
  3. TRUST YOUR PEOPLE – I had to yell that one. Your people are your business and they’re the ones who your customers rely on to deliver. Trust them with your brand and if one makes a mess, don’t punish the rest.
  4. Invest in a social media team – It’s not a fad or “all the rage”. Social media is part of the fabric of our society and if you’re not on the train, talking to people, you’re not going to know what they want.
  5. Give quietly – Don’t give money because someone hearts your Instagram photo. That’s slacktivism at its finest (Google is your friend). Give to initiatives and charities that matter to you. Donate your time to gain experience in your community. Stop shouting from the rooftops that you’re doing a thing and just go do it.

Is this book for you?

I would highly recommend anyone to Gary Vaynerchuk’s content, including this book. The reality is that, as a community, we are lucky to have someone like Gary to lead us through the fold of social media. We need to make sure that people who are visionary are listened to because they know what’s coming. They see it before we do.

Social media is here to stay. Doing business in today’s world means that you have to be in tune with the people who haven’t spent a dime in your store but want to know about your company AND in tune with the customers who are already buying from you. It’s all about relationships and relationships aren’t easy, they take dedication and effort. Sincere effort that is.

If you’re looking for advice on how to use social media in your company, I would recommend taking this book and studying it. Gary makes all the points you need to know and if you follow it, you’ll still be miles ahead of the competition.

Solid five stars from this gal.