Even Security Guards Get It: Part I

My company has two different offices in downtown Chicago. One of them is at 175 W. Jackson in a building that literally occupies an entire city block – it’s huge. There are thousands of people in and out of the building every day and there are security guards that stand at every entrance and every corner of every hallway on the ground floor. If you happen to leave the office at a relatively normal hour, you’ll encounter one security guard that knows more about motivation and recognition than pretty much any one I’ve encountered in corporate America. Without fail, he’s there every evening doing what he’s paid to do. But throughout his shift, he can be heard telling the random passerby, “hey, great job today.” Or “thanks for coming in.” Or “you made a difference today…thanks for that!” You should see the way he makes people smile.

Here’s a man who will likely never set foot on one of the floors above the lobby, yet he (genuinely) recognizes that we all play a role in this great big community, that we’re human beings, and that every now and then we like to be thanked. I don’t know if he understands how rare that is…in fact, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t care. He just sees these people trudging off after a long hard day and feels compelled to say something about it. And what he says is more than I’ve ever heard from pretty much any one I’ve ever worked for.

When’s the last time you walked the halls, poked your head into some one’s office or cubicle and just said, “thanks?” It takes all of 2 minutes, doesn’t cost a cent, and is maybe more powerful than anything you’ve done for your people in a long time. It’s simple, yes. But that’s why it works.

Up Next: Part II – Video Interview with Said Security Guard

Photo Credit: Simple

2 Responses to Even Security Guards Get It: Part I
  1. Tom Bolt
    November 4, 2010 | 4:41 am

    I worked at a major pharma company in NJ who had a security guard that was more of an asset to the public image of the company than he ever knew. If you were an employee he knew your name, where you worked and greeted you with a comment and called you by name every time you passed his desk. If you were a nervous candidate arriving for an interview, you were smiling and at ease by the time you disappeared into the bowels of the building to run the gauntlet of the occasionally much less friendly interviewers. I never saw his resume, but I’m fairly certain he did not have a degree in psychology, communications or HR, but he could have taught courses to those who sometimes forget that our jobs are about people.

  2. Charlie
    November 4, 2010 | 6:49 am

    @Tom I love this…the unsung heroes of the workforce. This might be an interesting feature.

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