Friday, November 21, 2014

The Giving Tree

A long time ago I worked at a Gas Station in Bellevue, Michigan. During a particularly boring graveyard shift a man came in looking for a cup of coffee. He looked a bit agitated. I told him we didn't have any coffee. He looked at the pot behind the counter inquisitively? I meandered over to see the pot. I opened a cabinet below, looked at the various tools to assemble a cup of Joe, and then stepped back. I heard the man say, "you've never made a cup of coffee have you?". What ensued next was an unexpected glory!

The man stepped behind the counter with me and showed me how to make a cup of coffee. He laughed as I poured the grains into the filter and we talked about life while the coffee brewed. Just two guys in the middle of the night talking over coffee. The guy chuckled with delight as I fumbled through the process and left with what he proclaimed the greatest cup of coffee he had ever tasted. It seemed he was thrilled to have the opportunity to teach someone something (he may not have had the opportunity to do that for a while). His agitation had subsided and he walked out whistling.

We always examine what engages people. Is it money, rewards, technology...? The example above reveals that people have a mutual appreciation for one another. Too often our predisposed frustration replaces teaching opportunities with confrontation.

People want to learn and to teach and to be given an opportunity to grow.

Last week we discussed the possibility that our character may be revealed through that which we are willing to do for free. Life is full of necessary evils (things we have to do). But, what do you want to do, and why not go do it?

By the virtue of the above mind frame, can engagement not be defined by the opportunity to give? Isn't there something pretty wonderful about that? 

Don't give me a catalog of outdated gifts in reward of my achievements. Give me the opportunity to conduct a class for the organization on the sociological significance of The Streets album "A Grand Don't Come For Free".

If I have 10 calls today that are creating opportunities and driving meaningful objectives, I am not only engaged but energized! I don't need a ping pong table or an espresso machine or to take a walk or even to eat. Give me a purpose and the tools to amplify its meaning and I will teach others to engage in it.

Now engagement has become advocacy!

We don't want gifts or more money. We want to be part of something we believe in and the trust to bring it to others.

~ Know what your employees need to succeed.
~ Design a program that helps them measure progress every day.
~ Reward achievement with new opportunities.
~ Never run out of new opportunities.

Have we forgotten how easy it is to help others??? 

Don't Forget to Remember!


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