Manager’s Corner: The Five People You Meet at Work

I just finished Mitch Albom’s ‘The Five People You Meet in Heaven.’ It’s an interesting quick read. And it left me, as I’m sure it does all readers, wondering who I’d meet if I were to have a similar post-life experience.

Just as Mr. Albom’s main character meets individuals whose lives he impacted, we all impact others’ lives each day in our work-worlds. However most often, we don’t realize the impact we have on others. We’re just ‘doing our jobs.’

If you were to have a post-life experience like Mr. Albom’s character, would you meet five people whose lives you’ve impacted like the following?

Person #1 – Karen. She was one of your employees. She was a single mom who was trying to make ends meet while creating a future for her kids and herself. By enrolling her in a ‘Future Managers’ program, you took a risk on her when no one else had in years. You helped her regain her confidence, increased her skills, and helped her provide for her family. She wants to say ‘Thank You.’

Person #2 – Randy. He was one of your suppliers. Randy had a very small firm when he approached you to provide his services to your company. You agreed to give his firm a chance. Over several years, you treated one another with respect, honesty, and professionalism. You gave him business leads. You helped him grow his business as he helped yours. He wants to say ‘Thank You.’

Person #3 – Terry. She was one of your customers. She had called your organization to place an order on a day when everything was going wrong for her. You happened to answer the phone when she called. You not only took her order, but asked what else your company could do to make her day a bit better. You then called her one week later to make sure she was happy with her order. You made her feel appreciated. She wants to say ‘Thank You.’

Person #4 – Trish. She was one of your competitors. Even though her firm seemed to be nipping at your heels regularly, you always treated her, her representatives, and her firm professionally. In fact, from Trish’s perspective, your firm set the standard in the area. Because of that, she tried to model her firm after yours. Your leadership style forced her to become a better leader for her own company. She wants to say ‘Thank You.’

Person #5 – Sal. He was your boss when you were 27. Sal remembers you as the one employee who really seemed to take an interest in his company. You wanted to learn; getting the paycheck seemed like a bonus to you. Your energy and interest in learning from him, helping him, and sharing ideas with him, created energy for Sal and the rest of his staff. New opportunities for his organization followed. He wants to say ‘Thank You.’

Given how you currently ‘do your job’, whose lives are you impacting — and how? Do others want to say ‘Thank You’ to you? If not, why not?