Sunday, December 19, 2010

How 200 children brought tears to my eyes!

Recently we completed the first leg of our US book tour, for my new book On Toby’s Terms. Our second last event of the trip was presenting to 600+ elementary school aged children. As the children filed into the auditorium their eyes were wide and bright as soon as they spotted our dog Toby. He is the star of the book I just wrote, and accompanies me on many book related events.
When the principal introduced me, she said “and we have a real live author with us today. Her name is Charmaine Hammond and is an author, she wrote a book.” In unison, 200 little children said “ohhhhh” and “wowwww.” This was as beautiful as any standing ovation I had ever received, in fact, this one brought tears to my eyes. In that moment, I was reminded of just how big some of our own accomplishments seem to children, and that perhaps, we need to stay connected to that childlike curiosity and excitement.
Imagine how our workplaces would be transformed when team members acknowledge one another’s accomplishments, when there is curiosity and excitement (instead of competition and jealousy) when other people achieve their goals.
Here are three ways to carry forward what I was reminded of by these children:
1. Remember that we are role models, not only to children, but also to others in our workplace. Be clear on the role you want to model to others.
2. Take time every week to acknowledge someone’s accomplishments, action, success, etc. Acknowledgement can come in the form of remembering and asking the person about how things are coming along with their specific goal. Show excitement, attentiveness and curiosity and keep the focus on them, and their story.
3. Ask if it is ok to spread the word. If the individual says yes, let others know what their colleague has accomplished, speak with pride about their accomplishment.

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