Watch these two videos and then reflect for a moment what they share in common.
Easy to spot the differences, but reach for the connections, not the differences:
We are at a cross roads. The world is shifting to a higher level of consciousness and social media is the conduit by which we can access this shift in ways that are subtle, constant and authentic.
I just wrapped up a fantastic project with SilverBirch Hotels and Resorts. For the past several years, SilverBirch and its 22 hotels, 3000+ employees have celebrated International Kindness Week by connecting with each other, their guests and communities in genuine and thoughtful ways.
This year we created a Facebook page among other things where employees could share with each other some of the random acts of kindness they were inspired to perform. The stories were incredible.
At one property the staff went out and put coins in people’s expired parking meters with a little note.
At another they put a crib in the lobby and challenged people to fill it with teddy bears to donate to a local hospital.
In every property, 7 ft tall decals of the SilverBirch tree adorned a wall in the hotel and employees wrote kindness and recognition messages to each other on the leaves. On Nov 11th they showed reverance and kindness to veterans. On another day they creatively raised funds for a local charity of their choice, with the highest total being matched by corporate office.
It was inspiring to witness this year’s Kindness Week close up and it quickly became apparent to me that Kindness is not something that happens once a year at SilverBirch. Now let’s call a spade a spade… What Narayanan in the first video is accomplishing is moving MOUNTAINS. SilverBirch employees are not feeding hundreds of starving homeless individuals in India, or bathing the forgotten and downtrodden to give them hope and dignity.
They ARE however exhibiting day to day behavior that supports, solidifies and encourages a culture of being thoughtful to others, of being creative in how to improve the day or life of someone around them, of doing it together. Kindness to our communities, to our customers, starts with kindness to each other.
Too often in the corporate world the “values” you hear about in Orientation or see posted in nice frames on the hallways of the company headquarters- are just words. I experienced firsthand the power of an organization walking the talk and allowing their employees to take this concept of Kindness and make it their own.
Just as Narayanan Krishnan in the first video understood the importance of nourishing the physical and emotional needs of the forgotten, so I would challenge that the opportunity for organizations wanting a vibrant employee culture is to nourish not only the typical needs we have from work (a paycheque, benefits etc..) but the intangible needs we have of belonging to something bigger than ourselves, of feeling connected, excited and proud to be part of something that brings out the best in us.
The cross roads is here before us and we have a choice as to how we will conduct ourselves from here on, in life and at work. Which will be the road by which you will travel? The choice is yours.