This week at work we made a change in staffing. We moved somebody out of one group in to another group. Not a promotion or demotion. Just a move. Still, when I passed along the news, I was sensitive to the fact that any time somebody is moved to a new position, there is the potential for hurt feelings.
A few hours later I received an email from the person we moved. In it they used a phrase that I try myself to use whenever the opportunity presents itself.
I will get back to that in a few minutes… First, story time.
A whole new conference
Last year I was invited to speak at a conference. This isn't all that noteworthy since I've spoken at dozens of conferences over the past few years. But, what made this conference different is that it was for an entirely different industry than I had ever presented for. This meant that all 200+ people in the audience were brand new sets of eyes who were not only learning what I want teaching them, but they were also learning about me and my company.
When the conference was wrapping up, with a pocket full of business cards from attendees who wanted more info about my company, I found the event organizer and made a point of sharing that phrase with him.
I have a confession. My wife and I watch The Voice. (Stop judging me!)
The other night a singer walked on stage for their blind audition. He sang his heart out, but at the end of 90 seconds, no coaches pushed their buttons. His 15 minutes of fame was going to be cut to about 3 minutes.
After he sang, the coaches had the chance to offer up some words of encouragement and suggestions on what he could do to improve as a singer. No matter how much you like or loathe the show, remember that getting advice from successful people in the industry you are trying to get in to can be invaluable.
When his time was up and he was about to head off the stage, his final words were that magical phrase. Some people might not have given it a second thought. But I noticed it and it made me smile.
I failed my client
A while back I had a client who I didn't have a lot of direct contact with as somebody else in my company was managing their project. But, I had been the one to land them as a client. As a matter of fact, we had talked in depth about their agency sending us several projects moving forward.
After the first project had ended, everything I knew about the project from our side of things is that it went smoothly and the client was happy. Awesome! Or, so I thought…
I sent the client an email to ask how they thought the project went. They responded with SEVERAL paragraphs. They liked our work but thought our communication was terrible. Even if I wasn't their direct contact, as one of the owners of the company, the responsibility was still mine. I thanked them profusely for the feedback and went to work to try and repair the relationship.
Before I left the company, we shill hadn't received a second project from the client. During my last week I made a point to send them an email including the all important phrase.
His first job comes to an end
My son's first job was working at Target during the holiday season a couple years back. A pretty typical first job for a kid growing up. He applied for the job, did the interview and landed the job all with minimal help (a little interview coaching) from mom and dad. All of which is a little more impressive when throw in the fact that my son has mild Autism that hinders his social/communication skills. To say the least, we were extremely proud!
He worked hard every shift they assigned him, but still, once the holiday season passed, they informed him that he was not going to be kept on as an employee. This is pretty typical of seasonal jobs, but it was still a bummer.
As his last day approached, I sat him down to pass on a little advice. And this is the same advice I would like to pass on to you, dear readers…
I said to him, “At the end of your shift, I want you to find your manager, shake his hand and tell him Thank you for the opportunity.”
The phrase has power.
It shows respect.
It shows you understand the value of a situation.
It shows you value the other person.
That event organizer, those reality show judges, that client, that manager… There may come a time when they are in a situation that calls for talents similar to yours. That sign of respect can easily push you to the top of their list. Try it out some time.