Editorials by Robert Kirwan

Beware of Missing Out On The Diamond While You Are Collecting Stones!
   Many of my acquaintances often ask me how I come up with ideas for my editorials every week. I tell them that it is easy when you are around people all of the time. You just have to watch and listen. Life happens and stories evolve on their own. Just the other day I received a letter from a very good friend of mine. It was a very complimentary letter, and she certainly made me feel good about being back with The Vision, but she also included the following quotation: “Never take someone for granted. Hold every person close to your heart because you might wake up one day and realize that you’ve lost a diamond while you were too busy collecting stones.” What a powerful message for all of us! And it is something that each and every one of us can apply to our life right now – no matter what we are doing.

   For example, whenever I started a new job, I would naturally meet the managers and supervisors who ultimately decided whether or not to hire me. Once hired, however, the first two employees I immediately established a sincere and honest relationship with were the oldest person on staff and the janitor. After introducing myself to each of these people, I would tell them how I was looking forward to working with the company, and then I would ask them the following question, “What should I know about this place in order to be successful and happy here?”

  Sounds like a simple question. Sounds a lot like a question I should have been asking the manager. However, ask the janitor of the building that question when you first arrive on the job, and you will get information that is invaluable. He will tell you clearly what you should do to be happy and successful. He will tell you about things you should avoid doing or saying and to whom that would have been impossible for you to be aware of. He will also, without necessarily saying it in so many words, be extremely proud of the fact that you took the time to recognize that he has something important to offer. Others on staff may take him for granted, but you didn’t.

   When I then sat down with the oldest person on staff, I always made sure I had plenty of time. For, when you begin a conversation with the question above with a person who has the most experience with the company, you will get a complete course in Success 101. If necessary, keep coming back to her for clarification about things you may not have understood the first time. She will always take time to talk to you.

   Later, when I myself became one of the oldest people on staff, I always looked for an opportunity to talk to new employees soon after they started. I would invite them over to my desk where we would sit down and just talk. I would ask them why they decided to work here and what their goals were. During the conversation, I would try to slip in bits of advice and tips that I knew would make the transition smoother for them. In each and every case, they were all impressed that a “senior member of the staff” would take time to talk to the “lowly new employee”. They felt special knowing that someone would take the time to help them adjust to their new position.

  Always remember, that each and every person you meet is a “diamond”. It doesn’t matter whether that person is a millionaire athlete, or a person sweeping the street. Always find time to spend with each “diamond” you come across. Show them that you sincerely care about what they have to say. Offer them words of encouragement and advice that will help them accomplish their own goals and objectives.

   I have always believed firmly that no favour or act of kindness is ever wasted. Show someone that you appreciate what they have to say and that you think what they are doing is important, and you have given them a greater gift than you can ever imagine.

   So if you are starting a new job, beginning a new class, or joining a new group or organization, talk to the oldest person and seek out another person who may not appear to be very high on the chain of command. Ask them what you should know in order to be successful and happy. If you know a person who is new to your company or your group, take a few minutes and talk to them. Show them that you care and give them some sound advice on what they should do in order to be happy and successful. It won’t take long, but it will certainly make a big difference to the person to whom you have confided. Once you uncover and shine up the diamond, you can go back to collecting stones.

   Have a good week.


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Valley East Today is published by
Infocom Canada Business Consultants Inc.