In the spirit of the season, it's time to sit back and reflect on not only what we're thankful for, but also for whom we are thankful.

The experience that we've all been through this past year--the worst economy since the Great Depression--has taught us all so much about the perseverance and determination of the small business community, as well as the benefits of relying on our collective strengths to get us through. While this past year has not been easy, hopefully we have all made some strides in our businesses and business relationships.

Especially in a year such as this one, it's even more important to take the time to thank people and acknowledge their contributions. While at times we can all be too focused on the task at hand, it's amazing how meaningful a simple "Thank you," or "Job well done" can be to team members. The most effective organizations have incorporated rewards and recognition programs into their human resources initiatives. They don't have to be costly endeavors. Celebrating a team win, acknowledging someone's achievement in front of their peers, and hosting an ice cream social or other fun event are some of the ways you can recognize the hard work of your team.

Hopefully, remembering to thank team members is part of your company culture--something that happens day in and day out--and not just by managers but by all employees throughout your organization. But don't stop there. Remember to thank your customers, partners, vendors, board members, and other groups for all their support throughout the year. No company--especially a small business--operates in isolation. We are all involved with and indebted to our network of connections--all of the people who help us to deliver our best work, meet our customers' needs, and grow our businesses. And that's a lot to be thankful for.

Read more about what Nancy and her team are doing to develop Exceptional Workplaces at or on their Facebook Page.