I'd like to show appreciation to my clients for their use of my services and continuing faith in me to advise them. Since I am always aware of the ethics of giving gifts and not wanting to cross the line, what is a good way to show my appreciation appropriately?
First, a point about gift ethics. It used to be easier to give gifts when the gift was seen as a genuine show of appreciation. However, because of the excesses of giving gifts in clear cases of conflicts of interest, it seems these days almost any gift might be construed as an attempt to exercise undue influence. Even a retail gift certificate or book can raise eyebrows.
Considering that what you are trying to express is a genuine appreciation for past behavior, trust and service, then the best way to show it is to just say it. Write a heartfelt letter, handwritten would be best, of what the relationship has meant to you and your firm. When you stop and think of it, this is the most genuine, and likely the most appreciated, show of appreciation available. Because it can't be bought, thus has no market value, it makes it impossible to consider this an ethical issue. Tip:
Make this a habit - maybe a few such letters per month. It will keep you centered on what you appreciate about those in your professional and personal life, and is an affirmation to others of your honorable attitude toward them.© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA/a>