Sometimes in life people make a difference without even realizing it. Without trying to make a difference. “Leading by example” is the term often used to describe this phenomenon. Melissa was pleasantly surprised when the owner of a small hotel and conference facility “comp’d” our stay at the hotel for a non-work event. The woman, whom we’ve known for many years, did so out of appreciation to Melissa both for the business brought to the hotel/conference facility, and also for the lessons Melissa taught her, without trying and without realizing she was doing so. When we first met this woman, she was new to the hospitality industry and her inexperience showed. But, in that we worked at her facility numerous times, she learned how we wanted things to be done to help our “high and mighty” clients. Turns out that observing us work with successful and powerful attorneys, including one or two who became judges, helped her learn how to manage events for clients of other types. This particular facility has a large marina with boats worth millions of dollars floating in their slips; many of their clients are wealthy, and presumedly powerful. In any event, watching, listening, and observing Melissa helped her grow her business and she was kind enough to say so. She did that in a unique and much appreciated way. It was good to hear that Melissa, and perhaps the rest of us, made a difference in an unexpected way.
As corny as it sounds, I try to “let my light shine” in my dealings with everyone. When I was growing up, my parents treated everyone with respect, whether they were dealing with the lowest or highest members of society. Mom always told me to watch what I was doing because I never know when someone else is looking for me to show them the right way to do something. In the example David mentioned, Magnus had been working at a small, family owned hotel for many years when a sudden change in the family required the young daughter and her husband to manage it. The family is wealthy and this young woman had no idea of how to manage her family’s hotel (one of their many sources of income). She was never rude to me, but her attitude conveyed to me that “there is a new sheriff in town,” such that she was somewhat unwilling to accommodate my clients and me in the ways we had experienced in the past. Because it was my clients’ desire to continue working at this hotel, I decided it was in all of our best interests to be nice, learn how to get along, and maybe, in the process of doing so, we might actually like each other. I patiently explained to the new manager how my clients and I like to have things done a certain way, but if she had a better way that would benefit my clients, I would certainly be open to it. Magnus’ Research Associates were also patient when setting up everything prior to our arrival and eventually, all of us learned how to work together in a mutually beneficial way. I don’t know how many times I have worked at this hotel over the past 20 years, or how many nights I have stayed there, or how many hundreds of thousands of dollars I spent there, but suffice it to say I was delighted to find out my attempts to teach this young woman (whom I have now known for more than 10 years) were effective in helping make her the person she is today. Mom was right; someone did learn from the example I set!