Monday 23 April 2018

Is it the little things that matter most?

At times we may get distracted by shareholders, politics and our competitors or simply a case of being too self-absorbed and yet as so often the case it is the small things and in how we relate to others that matter in life and that can matter most. A simple smile can make the world of difference to your colleague. A compliment can really lift a person’s day. Rather than the superficial courtesies, it is the simple genuine thank you’s, pleases or or how is your day going when given consistently that can work wonders. All humans beings at all level deserve recognition and to be treated with kindness and respect. Sometimes it is these details we take for granted that we forget that can have very serious consequences.  

Sir Alex Ferguson, one of football's greatest coaches and a great leader, shared some of his secrets in a short film. He took a personal approach to what mattered most in his organisation. The staff, the players and their families. He got this right and it would show on the pitch and then delight the fans. Not just all the players. he also knew everyone's first names in the entire organisation, the reception lady, cleaner or laundry woman. He knew their names because he took an interest in what they were all doing and how they were progressing. Something leaders often forget that it is just as much about the staff in the reception desk as it is the star biller in an office.

One time I wondered into a supermarket. I reached the counter and the lady at the cashier almost fell apart. Whilst I was paying and started thanking her, I asked if everything was alright. She responded that it was sometimes very tough to be in this chair and simply not to be recognised. She mentioned that typically most customers, who pay, are for example very busy on the mobile phone, impatient and pay no attention to her. She apologised in that it was sometimes very difficult. Then she shouted out at the top of her voice. ‘I exist!’

Another time a chap took the Eurostar to the continent and whilst he was passing through the security baggage check in. As you can imagine it was busy, yet all seemed to go well and it wasn’t until he reached the queues of the passport office he realised he did not have his on him. Frantically he looked all over and began to retrace his steps. Fortunately one of the security ladies ran over with a concerned and determined expression and asked. ‘Is it your passport that you left behind at the baggage security check in?’

‘Yes it must be.’ He replied with great relief.

He followed her back to retrieve it while she began to explain how she had searched everywhere for me. She then handed it over.

‘You are an angel’ were the only words that he could think of.

She thanked him with a huge smile, and said that that was the nicest thing anyone had said to her all day.

The small things can yield great dividends

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