Our marketing director handed out a souvenir at our most recent annual staff day meeting. It's about the size of a domino and has our CPI corporate logo and the word "Respect" on one side and a hollowed-out indentation for your thumb on the other. It's not unlike the "worry" stone that some people carry around for . . . worrying. I was transfixed by the powers that this stone might possess and wanted to see if it had any positive effects on people's behavior.
As soon as I got home, I decided to try it on my wife. She had been in a bad mood that day and I figured it was worth a shot. I had her close her eyes and I pressed the stone into the palm of her hand, waiting for the magical response. She opened her eyes, looked at the stone for a moment . . . and then threw it in our junk drawer while yelling at me to take out the garbage. Not the result I was looking for.
Discouraged, but not close to being finished with my attempts, I decided to try it on a younger subject. My Monday morning flight provided me with the perfect opportunity. The toddler on my flight to Detroit sounded like a hound dog on steroids. People were getting jumpy and the parents were at their wits' ends. I turned around and placed the stone in the toddler's hands. She stopped crying. It worked! It worked, that is, until I tried to get my stone back. It's amazing how powerful and violent toddlers can be. The doctor told me that my nose will eventually heal and my lawyer told me that I actually have a case.
I used that stone to try and calm every unpleasant person I came across. The terrible taxi driver, the unhappy hotel innkeeper, the worrisome waitress, and the bad bartender. All to no effect. When finally I felt that maybe I had failed, I found a man who needed magic the most. He was homeless and shivering in the cold. I wrapped that stone in a ten-dollar bill and handed it to him. He smiled and said thanks. Just like magic, it worked.
I once had a participant in a training who shared with the group that staff are the best treatment of all. That staff members are the ones who make the difference. As I thought of that, I realized that a stone, magic or not, has nothing to do with people's happiness. I was the one with the power to impact a person's outlook, and, by doing so, to be impacted too. I guess that's why we call it an Integrated Experience.
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