In his second month as an MBA student, one of Mike’s professors gave a pop quiz.
Mike breezed through the questions until the last one: “What is the first name of the woman who cleans this building?”
Surely this was some kind of joke. He’d seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, brunette and in her 50s, but how would he know her name?
He handed in the paper, leaving the last question blank.
Before class ended another student asked if the last question would count.
“Absolutely,” the professor answered. “In your lives, in your careers, you’ll meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say hello.”
“I’ve never forgotten that lesson,” Mike wrote many years later. “I also learned her name was Dorothy.”
With a simple test question, that professor communicated a powerful truth about recognizing the importance of every person.
The Golden Rule—treating others as you would like to be treated—is the most effective way I know to develop loyal, trustworthy team members who feel appreciated, valued and respected.
In his book EntreLeadership, Dave Ramsey writes: “Too many people in business have abandoned sight of the fact that their team members are humans, they are people. Too many people in business have become so shallow that they are merely transactional, not relational.
“The people on your payroll are not units of production, they are people. They have dreams, goals, hurts, and crises. If you trample them or don’t bother to engage them relationally you will forever struggle in your operations.”
Being kind, inclusive and demonstrating genuine interest are not only right things to do, but they also make good business sense.
I have seen great marketing ideas come from people at all levels of an organization. It’s amazing what creative thinking and insights people have if we take initiative to draw them out a bit.
They’ll open up if they trust us and believe we really care about them.
But first, we need to know their names. Whose name do you need to learn today?