Yesterday, we talked about how having a big vision for our lives and leadership has the potential to empower others. We also looked at how being more devoted to rules and standards than human beings creates a “quack quack” model in our corporate or personal culture and how such a mentality deflates and discourages people. Today, to solidify these concepts, I want to share a story with you. Years ago, pre 9/11, Ken Blanchard, one of the authors of the “Lead Like Jesus” series that we’ve been learning from, was traveling on a Southwest Airlines flight. After unloading his luggage at the curb, he realized he had forgotten his wallet. He figured he would be turning around at that point, but instead, he encountered a very helpful airline employee. After explaining to him what had happened, he showed him his photo on the back of one of the books he had co-authored and asked if that would suffice as identification. Impressed by his credentials, the ticketing agent assured him that he would make it work and personally escorted him to his flight. While it was unorthodox, this employee was part of a corporate culture that valued the customer over the rules, and everything worked out. On his way home, however, Ken was booked on a different airline, and things didn’t go as smoothly. Though he presented the same proof of identity, he was met with the expected, “I’m sorry, sir, but we’re not allowed to…quack, quack, quack.” Clearly, though both of these organizations were in the travel business, one was dedicated to taking care of its customers while the other was simply into maintaining the status quo.
My friend, be someone who goes out of your way to let people know that they’re important. Walk the extra mile to affirm that a person matters — even if it costs you time, energy, and resources — and know that in so doing, you model the heart of your Savior. Even better, strive to be a leader who allows others to do the same. If there are people in your charge, set them free to impart value to each precious soul that they serve. As you do this, not only will you develop a loyal and tight-knit team, but you’ll reflect the lovingkindness of God, and the world will change.