Pebbles in a Pond…

NANA-LogoI often tell the people both at conferences and in IIL’s Grateful Leadership classes that when you acknowledge someone it is like throwing pebbles in a pond: you have absolutely no idea how far the ripples will go! We saw a living, breathing, powerful demonstration of this during the sessions I recently led for 450 managers at the NANA Development Corporation, headquartered in Anchorage, Alaska.

All of the participants in the class had received the eBook of Grateful Leadership, thanks to the generosity of the company. One of the managers, Ken Weber, told the class that he had read half the book that morning, which led him to take an action he would otherwise not have taken. He shared with the class the note he wrote to Customer Service at the National Safety Council. Here it is, with his permission:

Dear NSC,

I would like to extend my personal thanks to Dorothy. Yesterday (8/20/13), I required a reset of my membership password to access the NSC website. In my phone call to NSC I did not expect to hear such an enthusiastic, eager-to-help attitude waiting on the other end of the line. While the password reset may have been Dorothy’s 1000th reset, it was my 1st. With a joyful heart I could hear her smile through the phone as she quickly accessed the database and completed the reset immediately. Dorothy is outstanding and a joy to speak with. As I am attending the NSC Congress in Chicago, I am compelled to seek out Dorothy and see her smile & joy in person.

Kudos on phenomenal customer service! Thank you, NSC .

What amazed our entire class was the response that Ken received to his email – during our class, if you can believe that! He was kind enough to share it with all of us via text chat:

Good Afternoon Mr. Weber:

Wow – what a great testimonial you gave to Dorothy’s customer service skills!  I am so pleased you took the time to write about your experience.  There’s nothing better than being appreciated and you made Dorothy’s day!   I’ve made sure to share your comments with others here at the Council.  Thank you for your kindness.  Have a safe day! 

Best regards, 

Karen Gawrych, Supervisor, Customer Relations, NSC

And the “ripples” don’t stop there! When I requested Karen’s permission to use her response in my blog, she wrote:

“At a staff briefing next week, we will be sharing the details of Ken’s compliment about Dorothy’s service, my response to Ken and how those emails found their way into your “live” class.  We certainly are excited about that.”

Oh, and by the way, here’s another ripple:  Dorothy received TWO DOZEN roses from an account manager for her outstanding customer service as a result of Ken’s acknowledgment! I thought it would be fun for Ken to “meet” Dorothy with her beautiful roses, and for Dorothy to “meet” Ken via this blog:

Ken Weber - Pebbles in the Pond


I’m sure the ripples will continue from this wonderful interaction; it inspires all of us to take the time and make the effort to do something that will truly make a difference in someone’s life and work. I acknowledge all of the “pebble throwers” in this story: Ken, Dorothy and Karen, and of course, my dear colleague at the NANA Development Corporation, Bob Bulger, who created the possibility for all of this to take place, out of his commitment to having a company with a culture of appreciation.

All of you have truly modeled what this work is about!

A BIG thank you to McGraw Hill for their efforts in posting this blog on their website. You can find it here.