A few months later the manager called again and told her that Johnny had transformed the entire store. Now when the floral department has a broken flower or unused corsage, they find an elderly woman or a little girl and pin it on them.
"Everyone's creating memories. Our customers are talking about us... they're coming back and they're bringing their friends."
An illuminating sense of service spread throughout the store because one bag boy decided to make a difference.
Go to the web link at the end of this article and watch Johnny's story. It takes about 3 minutes and it's a worthy investment of your time. Better have a Kleenex on hand. If you're not moved, your friends need to chisel you from that block of ice you're living in. There are other ideas on Ms. Glanz's website for making a difference - one person at a time.
That day I spent with the Colorado dispatchers didn't end there for me. Shortly after I received Barbara Glanz's story of Johnny from one of them, I received an email from Pam Monsees, the Director of Telecommunications who had arranged for me to do the leadership training. She wrote,
"Our little Dawn was so moved and touched by your presentation that she is now wearing her starfish on a silver chain around her neck."
Pam explained that Dawn's life wasn't easy and that when she had applied to their agency, "Her self-confidence was at an all-time low." Pam concluded,
"I think Dawn sees herself as that starfish that 'it made a difference' too. [S]he has succeeded - and she 'shines' while she is here. Since her leadership class she seems to have a stronger confidence in herself - and has made the effort to help my new recruits with boosting their confidence levels! She is becoming a great coach."
That's when I realized that Johnny and Dawn had become my leaders; my coaches; as had the dispatcher and Pam, who'd sent me their stories; as had Barbara Glanz, who is spreading Johnny's story internationally.
It was from the least of these that I learned the most - from Dawn, a newly hired, shy, tentative dispatcher, and from Johnny the bag boy - both of whom had simply decided that, "Anyone can be a leader because anyone can serve," and that they could make a difference.
So, each of you - Chiefs, Deputy Chiefs, Captains, Lieutenants, Sergeants, Corporals, Officers, Sheriffs, Deputy Sheriffs, Detectives, Investigators, Recruits, Crime Lab personnel, Evidence Technicians, Records Clerks, Receptionists, Financial Officers, Custodians, Dispatchers, Supervisors, Volunteers, anyone on the team that enables your law enforcement organization to do its noble mission: Here's the challenge. Be a leader - from the top down, from the bottom up, from the inside out. Find at least one way you can make a difference to those you work with and for. Then do it... every day.
Find and give:
- A "Thought for the Day"
- a "Caught Caring" pin
- a single silk or fresh flower
- a "Thank You" card
- a starfish charm
- a "Giving Hand" medal
- a “Helping Hand” medal
- a glass heart
- a "Believe" medal
- an "Inspire" medal
- a "Faith" medal
- a "Hope" medal
- a "Wisdom" medal
- a "Hammered Heart" medal
- a "Wings" medal
- a toy compass - to help them find their way
- a "Free laugh" punch card - get ten and get one free
- a rubber wristband with an inspiring message
I've provided web links at the end of this article where you can get most of the above for pennies. The real cost and value is your time and your caring enough to do it.
Find something, some way, each and every day to make a difference to someone you work with or for, to make them feel special. At the end of each day ask the questions a leader asks no matter where they serve in the organization:
- What did I contribute today?
- What did I do to make a difference?
- What did I do to make one person feel special?