LM, Episode 507, 4/19/21, Get The Hell Out of My Way

Last week I reconnected with a guy named Kent Hanan who I worked with at Russell Stover Candies years ago.  Kent and I have lots in common.  We attended the same college a year apart, we’re both accountants, and we both love laughing.

Every morning for the year we worked together, we would adjourn to a restaurant in the lobby of the building for our coffee break.  We agreed those were some of the most fun times we ever had at a job.

Kent worked with an accountant named Tim.  Tim believed he was just biding his time until his exceptional talents would be noticed by the owner of Russell Stover Candies, Mr. Ward, and he’d be moved to the executive floor above us.

Try as he might, Mr. Ward never noticed Tim, until one day Tim excitedly reported to Kent he’d had his first encounter with Mr. Ward on the elevator.  When Kent asked what Mr. Ward had said, Tim responded, “He said, ‘get the hell out of my way.”’

There was an executive, Mr. Michaelis, on our floor.  Mr. Michaelis was always impeccably dressed.  One day Kent notices Mr. Michaelis has dirt on his forehead and when Kent mentions this to Mr. Michaelis’s secretary, she says it’s Ash Wednesday.  Being as much of a heathen as me, Kent says, “Okay, but he still has dirt on his forehead.”

Kent and I talked about some of the awful jobs we had over the year, but I was happy to hear he was happily working for Hilton Hotels.  Kent said he told his boss he wished he’d found Hilton earlier in his career so he could give them 30 years of service instead of the few he has remaining.

I told Kent Hilton is my favorite hotel chain because of their service and he confirmed what I long suspected.  Hilton understands their customer relations mirror their employee relations because, as customer service expert, Emily Yellen, observes, it is virtually impossible for an employee who feels mistreated to care about your customers.  Today on Management Monday I hope you will follow the example of Hilton and treat your employees as you want them to treat your customers. 

Kent and I spent two hours laughing at our reminiscing, remembering that Tim never made it to the executive floor, getting fired not long after his encounter with Mr. Ward.  We agreed to keep in touch and I believe we will because we both believe laughter matters.