The Surprising Secret of Success

March 12, 2019 by

Frank Blake

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My favorite video ever has never been on TV or Netflix. But you can watch it here.

We showed this clip at a Home Depot store managers meeting many years ago. It was a way to say “thank you” to our associates, who very much deserved it. But I still show it frequently today, because I think it illustrates several principles for success:

  • the value of communicating to your team the importance of what they do;
  • why purpose and vision matter within organizations;
  • most of all, the primacy of showing gratitude.

But recently, I’ve come to believe that there’s another even more profound lesson within the footage. Perhaps you noticed it.

A New Understanding of Pride

The spot ends with children saying that they are proud of their parents. Sometimes they explain why. Their statements are emotionally powerful, and reverse the usual expression of pride.

We are used to parents saying they are proud of their children. In professional settings, we are used to leaders saying they are proud of their teams.

I’ve come to think that a more important question is: Is your child proud of you? Or if you are a leader, is your team proud of you?

The video offers clues into what factors will determine the answer.

The Lesson Between the Lines

If you listen closely to what the children are saying, the source of that pride becomes clear. Their pride is in the things they see their parents do for others.

Sometimes they cite great deeds, like volunteering to help rebuild after Superstorm Sandy. But more often it’s in the actions they see their parents do every day.

“She likes to help people,” one child says of her mother.

“She tells people, ‘Good job,’” says another.

“He’ll see someone walking in and he’ll probably hold the door open for them,” a daughter says of her dad.

The most direct route in winning someone’s pride is through generosity and doing for others. But you don’t need to do something incredible to be incredible.

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