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Leadership Lessons—The Special Moments

On Saturday night there was a prelude to the Super Bowl commercials. I’m sure we all have our favorite spots over the years.

Two of my favorites were shown, along with a couple of Budweiser tearjerkers with the Clydesdales. Which were my favorites? Jordan vs. Bird with the McDonald’s “game of horse,” and the Mean Joe Green and the kid—who gave him a Coke. In response, Mean Joe Green threw him his game jersey. It’s been 38 years since that commercial aired. We got to see a recent meeting with the two of them on Saturday—the kid now in his mid-40s. Mean Joe was very emotional during the meeting. The commercial, obviously, meant a great deal to him. Joe and the kid have remained friends over the years.

It was a special commercial that people have talked about time and again over nearly four decades.

Special moments are something leaders cherish. They are able to look back at these special moments and remember them like yesterday.

During our Leadership Summit a couple weeks ago, our speaker, Eric Chester, suggested that everyone carry five pennies in their pocket. The reason? Everyday a person should complement five people … or at least make five compliments throughout the day. After every complement the goal is to take a penny out of your one pocket and put it in the other pocket. This creates a habit that can change a person’s life.

Look back in your own life and think about the times someone has given you a sincere compliment. How many do you think had a major impact on you? Can you also think of a comment or comments that were made to you that had the opposite effect? Something inflammatory that was also a special moment—but a negative special moment? I can point to several in my own life—both positive and negative.

I read a heartwarming story about Super Bowl quarterback Peyton Manning and rookie wide receiver Jordan Taylor—who was undrafted and only on the practice squad. When Manning was rehabbing a few weeks ago after a foot injury he asked Taylor to be his practice receiver. This went on day after day—a few times per day. Manning credits Taylor’s work ethic as the reason why he was ready to come back before anyone thought was possible. As a thank you, Manning had his tailor measure Taylor, then make a custom suit for him for travel to the Super Bowl, along with two shirts and two ties. This was young Taylor’s first custom-made suit.

One of my wife’s new Five Start Painting/Protect Paining franchisees was a tight end for the Indianapolis Colts when Manning was their quarterback. He told me about his rookie year when Manning insisted that he, along with a couple of unmarried rookies, join the Mannings for Thanksgiving. He said he’ll never forget Manning’s thoughtfulness. Obviously, the leadership that Manning shows off the field provides very special moments for others.

What about you?

What have you done in the past that has been a special moment for someone? You might have done it for your kids or other family members. Focus, though, on the people that you work with. If a news crew interviewed your employees would any of them have great stories to tell about you?

Start a habit of putting five pennies in your pocket and doing five nice things for others every day. It might be a complement. It might be random act of kindness. You never know—it might just be a special moment that someone else remembers for the rest of their life.

During the Super Bowl interviews, I heard one reporter tell Manning: “Nelson Mandela once told me, ‘People forget what you say. They also forget what you do. But, they never forget how you make them feel.’”

That best describes what great leaders do!

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