I just read an additional tribute that was written about my brother when he died last March. It was posted in his former company’s newsletter and was focused on the success that my brother had in mentoring others as well as his attributing his personal success to the team with which he had worked. This set my mind to thinking about how many people who have personal success never acknowledge that it was a result of a whole lot of other people behind the scenes that made it all possible.
I started to review my own interaction with others and how my actions have made it possible to have success because of them. In my current work in the entertainment industry for example, I have many clients both internally and externally who require legal clearances on a huge quantity of materials ranging from titles to on-air and printed materials to contract liabilities to screen credits to internet materials, etc. I started this job without any experience or training in law and find that I can handle the vast majority of clearances without any help from anyone else. But how did I get to this point?
It is the result of every single attorney who initially provided me with the information and took the time to explain the answers to me. This process called to mind the famous quote, “Give a man a fish, and you’ve given him a meal. Teach him to fish, and he’ll have food for a lifetime.” I believe that this was the basis on which my brother operated that resulted in his success. And I am totally vested in this approach.
As I am not an attorney, it is obvious that there are still many situations in which I need to consult with them in order to provide answers to the clients. Many times I have had to get these answers in incredibly short periods of time and in situations where the underlying materials were not readily available. It was the outstanding assistants from these attorneys that allowed me to meet, if not exceed, the deadlines that I had been given. The attorneys made me look good and allowed me to succeed on an extremely high level.
But how could I provide a special thanks to them for what they were doing to allow me to be successful in my work? Well, there is a book called “Fish Tales” that chronicles the team of workers at a fish market where they decided to make their jobs a lot more fun by filling orders by throwing the fish through the air rather than just passing them from one to another. The book also told of a group of hospital workers who expanded this concept to their own use by having stickers of fish on their name badges that they would take off and pass to a co-worker who had done something special to help them on an individual basis. I liked that concept.
So I instituted my own “fish” program by using photos of fish that I hand out to those attorneys or anyone else who has gone above and beyond in helping me with materials or answers that I need. Everyone loves getting the fish and some even compete to see who can get the most fish. And while this has become a fun program for everyone, each person who receives a fish knows how much I appreciate their individual efforts and who doesn’t appreciate it when someone gives you a special thank you. I know what their help means to me and I hope that they know how grateful I am to receive that help.