I once worked at a company that had many tiers of employees. There were people who were C-Suite executives, principals, SVPs, VPs, senior associates, and lots of us worker-bees. But there was one person who stood out above all the rest – Desiree. One thing we all knew about Desiree – she could make magic happen! And everyone knew that – from the CEO on down through every tier of employee. We counted on her to work her magic every day. Yet even though we looked very hard, we very rarely caught a glimpse of how she did it.
Among her other duties, Desiree was charged with getting lunches and dinners set up, and then clean-up of the same. In this large company, we had eight floors of employees with four to five conference rooms on each floor. One of Desiree’s many duties was to deliver and set up lunches for meetings. There were often 8-10 lunch meetings held at a time for up to 40 people in any one of the conference rooms on any number of these eight floors – every day. Desiree would do this without a hitch so that lunch was always served at Noon sharp for everyone. Every day she glided between floors with large carts of food and beverages, bowls of pasta, fruit and cheese trays, Panera sandwiches or soups, or LeeAnn Chin’s Lemon Chicken, cookies and bars, and about 12 different kinds of drinks for each meeting. We always knew she had been to our conference rooms right before we entered our meetings as everything was in order, plates and tableware set out, beverages lined up, waste bins easily accessible. Everything was taken care of so wonderfully, that all we had to do was enjoy our meetings and work hard during them.
And every day, after everyone on all eight floors of conference rooms consumed their food and ran their meetings, when we filed out of the rooms, we would rarely see Desiree slip back into those rooms, clean them completely out in 5-10 minutes and get ready for the next meetings to happen in the same rooms. She had this enormous gift of quietly, attentively taking care of our needs by serving us and cleaning up after us so that others could do their work for the company, enjoying the same conference rooms in the afternoon. This was beauty – this was function – this was serving – this was her gift to us, her co-workers! No matter your position in the company, Desiree served each of us with the same respect. Yet very rarely did we ever have the chance to thank her properly for her care of us because we never fully witnessed her accomplish her great work except maybe out of the corner of our eyes for a second or two, although we tried to catch her in the act many times. She was in her niche, her element, she worked within her strengths – service for the good of others and for the good of the company. If we ever did catch her to tell her how much we appreciated her help, she would shyly look down and dismiss our praise of her. Yet we knew we had just seen magic in this woman!
How many of us have witnessed beauty like this in another co-worker who works within their great strengths? An accountant who gets the billing right when we have flubbed the calculations, the project manager who pulls the team together to get a big job over a major and problematic hurdle, a marketing coordinator who puts just the right spin on the most perfect proposal, the IT people who stay over a weekend to make sure the new migration has worked so that others can come in on Monday mornings and work without a holdup, the administrative professional who knows where her boss is at any given time and saves him or her from an unusually zealous salesperson who came to visit.
In all these things we work our own magic without even thinking sometimes – because we have that same quiet way of attending to the needs of others in our companies and work within our strengths. At the end of the day, we are able to show our great respect for the people we work with because we SEE them in their need and give to them whatever strength we have to offer to make their work-world better. We each give out of our surplus of caring and because of the strengths that we possess for the Whole of the organization. Never let us take for granted the pieces of good that we give each other out of the nature and nurture of our hearts. Never let us forget to value all the Desirees around us.