I Wish I Had A Narwhal
Sometimes there’s nothing better than hangin’ out with an eight year old. You get an excuse to watch all the Christmas movies and reignite the wonder of childhood. Last night, Jeremy and I watched Arthur Christmas, and I loved every minute of it (I confess, my husband caught me boo-hoo’ing at the end). Sometime, in the middle of the movie, Arthur was flying in an ancient sleigh over the Artic Circle and there were narwhals, these magical half-dolphin-half-unicorn-looking-creatures, leaping and diving in the water along side him. Jeremy was fascinated. While “narwhal” had been on his “name-that-animal-cards” we played with him when he was three, he had no memory of seeing one before. “I wish I had a narwhal, Mommy! They’re amazing!”
I sent a quick email to myself, with the subject line, “narwhal”.
Several hours later, after Jeremy had gone to bed, I tiptoed into my office in search of a narwhal on-line, and I ran across this really wonderful artisan on Etsy. I sent her a quick note – “Would this arrive in time for Christmas?” – and decided rather than to wait for her reply I’d just go for it. Narwhal purchased! Fingers crossed!
This morning I woke up to several emails from Lisa, the talented narwhal-maker.
I just got your order and I’m at work on it now! I’ll ship it in the morning!
And then later…
Hi Kimberly, your narwhal has shipped and is expected to arrive on Monday. Please contact me with any questions at all and you can always return or exchange anything you are unsatisfied with, but I hope you love it! Thank you so much!
When someone is fully engaged in their work, when they love what they do – when they care – it shows. They go the extra mile. They give you all they’ve got. Lisa isn’t making much for her narwhal – she’s clearly not doing it for the money – she’s doing it for reasons she may not even understand. But she’s got a customer – now an advocate – in me, for life.
You see it’s not just what she does that matters – it’s how she does it. I wanted a narwhal – she gave me that. And in addition she made me feel important and appreciated – which takes it beyond a simple exchange of value. The fact that I now want to shout it out to the world, is a bi-product of the way she showed up.
It’s the same with leadership. It’s not just what you do, but how you do it that matters. How do you make the people around you feel?
Great leaders take their relationships beyond a simple value exchange. They recognize that the passion and energy and commitment that makes a difference in their results, is simply a bi-product of how people feel. And we can pretend all we want that feelings don’t belong in the workplace, but they’re there. They’re part of being human. And they’re either working for or against you.
In Arthur Christmas, Santa’s eldest son, Steve, was the likely heir to the Santa-throne. He knew how to drive results! He was efficient! He got things done!
But there was something that Steve didn’t understand. Emotions.
Steve: Christmas has no time for emotions.
Arthur: But that will ruin the magic.
Perhaps the greatest challenge for all of us – whether we own our own business like Lisa or we’re in a leadership position with an organization – is to find a way, in our hectic-crazy-lives, to keep the magic alive.
Thank you, Lisa, for helping me make my kiddo’s Christmas wish come true!
©OnStage Leadership, 2013; Kimberly Davis is the Founder/Director of OnStage Leadership, a full-day experiential leadership workshop. If you found this helpful, interesting, thought-provoking, or inspiring please “recommend”, “Like” and share. It is only through your generosity that we can reach those who may find it valuable too.