Everyone Makes a Difference
by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC
In addition to sales and presentation skills programs, I periodically deliver programs that are designed to support employees with the tools to deliver exceptional customer service. It is surprising to me sometimes how little it takes sometimes to make a difference for people. I usually include a exercise that includes the following paragraph that I found in the book “Inside the Magic Kingdom” by Tom Connellan:
XVXRYONX MAKXS A DIFFXRXNCX
Somxtimxs I gxt to thinking that what I do doxsn’t mattxr. But whxn I start thinking that way, I rxmxmbxr my old typxwritxr. Most of thx kxys workxd finx most of thx timx. But onx day, onx of the kxys stoppxd working althogxthxr. And that rxally mxssxd xvxrything up. So whxn I’m txmptxd to say I’m only onx pxrson, it won’t makx a diffxrxncx if I don’t do this quitx right, I rxmxmbxr my old typxwritxr. Thxn I say to mysxlf “I am a kxy pxrson and nxxdxd vxry much.
Often after we read this paragraph I ask everyone what it means to them. I get varied responses and they all agree with the message that everyone makes a difference. Usually the groups are small enough to have everyone go around the room and tell each other why they are important and what they appreciate most about each other. In many instances I can see that people are moved by what they are acknowledged for. I have had people come up to me after the program is over and say they were surprised (and delighted) to know they were appreciated.
We will debrief this session with some creative ways that people can acknowledge each other on an ongoing basis, and these are some of the suggestions:
- Thank you notes when someone does something special
- Buy a coffee (or tea, soft drink) for someone who has helped you
- Have candy or treats available for spontaneous acts of kindness
- Compliment when you see someone doing something great
- Send an email to a person’s boss telling them of something special colleague did
- Have a mascot (appropriate to the organization and culture) that is awarded weekly to the person who went the extra mile the most
The take away from this short exercise is to acknowledge each other for even the small things and this will go a long way to building a supportive team culture. I encourage everyone to look for ways to acknowledge each other everyday.