By: David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer
Recently I was reading an article about the days following September 11, 2001. In the article, writer Peggy Noonan recalls Friday, September 14 when she went with friends to a staging area on the West Side Highway in New York. Trucks filled with rescue workers coming off 12-hour shifts at Ground Zero traveled that route to and from a staging area. Noonan wrote “The trucks would go by and we’d cheer and wave and shout God bless you and We love you.” The workers would wave from the trucks and smile. What struck me the most was the comment that followed where she wrote: “I realized that a lot of them were men who hadn’t been applauded since the day they danced to their song with their bride at the wedding.” How tragic and yet how true.
These men and women were construction workers, electrical workers, emergency medical workers, police officers, and firefighters. They were the workers that made that city run. Day after day, night after night doing their jobs so well, and yet everyone took them for granted. Until September 11th, that is. Now, finally, those writers, editors, and investment bankers were cheering on the faithful that made their lives in the Big Apple possible.
But what about us? Are we just like those writers, editors, and investment bankers? Are we going through our lives oblivious to those around us who are making our lives possible? Are we rushing through our factories and offices without noticing the men and women who work faithfully behind the scenes? How often do we feel that the clerk behind the counter is getting paid to make my coffee, so why does he or she need anything special from me?
It’s time to cheer. It’s time to applaud. Why not look for opportunities to recognize and yes, cheer for our employees. A box of donuts and a thank you. A pizza lunch and a celebration for exceeding the goals. A thank you with a smile and a tip for the barista. Now before you say to yourself, they get paid to do it, ask yourself what life would be like if they were not around. So, get up and cheer. Say thank you and mean it. You will be amazed at the difference you will make and how it will make you feel.