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  • Writer's pictureRich Honiball

The Simplest of Gestures Can Have The Biggest Impact

This. Has. Been. A. Week.

Missed buses. Missed connections. Missed tests. Missed meetings. Misfires…

It also turns out that there are many “experts” out there who know exactly what I am feeling, exactly what I am thinking, exactly what I am intending, despite what I may be saying or doing. I think back to the movie “Back To School” when Rodney Dangerfield returns to college, pays Kurt Vonnegut to write a report on Slaughterhouse-Five, gets a poor grade and goes back and tells KURT, “YOU DON’T KNOW SH*T ABOUT VONNEGUT!”


I was going to write about “Lost in Translation”, but I will save that thought for another time, given that it is FriYAY and we all need something more uplifting!

We have a tradition in our office, specifically within my “code” (area of responsibility) and it has spread to others - many decorate their offices for Halloween, and we have a costume contest out in front of the building. Teams come together, plan out, and dress up in various themes. Imagine a couple of hundred people, half spectators, half participants, with some of the most creative costume ideas you can imagine. And one of my honorary responsibilities, I get to judge the best of the best.

Yesterday though, I was in no mood. Zero.

That, however, would not be fair to the teams who despite being beyond stretched and beyond stressed came together with some really wickedly cool ideas! There was the reenactment of Jurassic Park, the team of “Magic 8Balls” who predicted our holiday season (it is looking good), the three-ring circus, the pinata party complete with life sized candy and one of our DMM’s getting whacked by bats as people threw candy into the crowd. The list goes on, and on, and on.

Yes, I went downstairs and judged. Yes, I smiled, at first the fake “I don’t want to be here” smile but eventually, the “I really needed this” smile. After announcing the winners, I thanked them for making me smile during what was a pretty rough day.

You may have heard me talk about “Milestone Moments” and “Micro Moments”, the first being those big events and milestones that we plan for, the second being those small, unexpected, unplanned moments that can make a huge impact. We are focusing on these for our customers, for our associates as we look forward into 2020. As I was heading back to my office, someone on my team, someone who I don’t have much interaction with, came up and handed me a little packet. The circus act had handed out Cracker Jacks – she handed me her prize and said “I think you need this today more than I do. I hope your day gets better.

That small gesture, that micro-moment had a huge, immeasurable impact. It reminded me why we do what we do. It refocused my attention on what I can impact, and to set aside what I can't.

(As did the "cheerleader" that came to my office to cheer me up, the person who left the mini-cupcake on my chair, and the person who sent me the email letting me know that she and her team "got this"....)

So, today is Friday. After tornado warnings last night and a storm that rearranged our deck chairs, it is a sunny day. The gesture, the prize, it didn’t remove the obstacles and challenges that lie in front of me, but that tiny little plastic compass is reminding me of the direction that I need to head towards.

So, as my wife is fond of saying…Happy FriYAY! A challenge for you. Find that one person, offer that unexpected gesture, create that micro-moment. And go into the weekend knowing that you made a difference!


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