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Archive for September, 2012

Window Washer and Pidgeons

 

On a recent trip to Chicago I saw something truly inspiring. 

Throughout the trip I interacted with people who had a financial interest in being excellent at their job, and in providing excellent service.

I met doormen who opened doors, carried baggage, hailed taxi cabs, and made small talk, all with a wide smile on their faces. 

I met shuttle drivers who offered facts about the history of Chicago and asked about my hometown, all with smiles on their faces.

I met restaurant waiters who took their time explaining menus and going as far as to bring out every cut of meat available for me to choose what looked the best.  They made recommendations and praised my selections, all with huge smiles on their faces.  

All of these men and women HAD to be excellent at their job.  If they were anything but wonderful, I may choose to stay in a different hotel, take a different shuttle, or eat at a different chop house.  I appreciated their service, but recognize the motivation behind their actions.

Then I witnessed a window washer at the O’Hare Airport.  I am sure I was the only one watching him.  Sitting in my car waiting to be taken to downtown Chicago, with taxis and limos speeding around us, everyone trying to get to their destination, surely no one noticed him.  I watched as he ran a wet sponge down the window, cleaning off weeks of grime and dust.  I noticed how he was careful to work around a bracket holding the enormous window.  I looked on as he overshot with the sponge and soaped the bracket.  I watched as he took out a rag, wrapped it around his finger, and carefully wiped the excess soap off of the bracket.  He was practicing excellence in his window washing career.

He did all this in hiding.  He had no reason to impress me.  I am sure if he had left the soap to dry on the bracket, no one would have known otherwise…but he didn’t.  He practiced excellence. 

You may think your job is mundane or small, but take a lesson from the window washer at O’Hare Airport in Chicago. 

Be excellent for the sake of being excellent. 

You may never get a thank you or pat on the back, but you can rest in the knowledge that you were your best, and that is worth millions.

Remember Today:  THE WINDOW WASHER!

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