I wanted to bring back my Messmer-izing Moment (42) It’s the Little Things That Count for this week because of the story that I am about to share with you. Back in the early Spring, the Cubs, (for whom I have just completed my 29th year of service as National Anthem singer and many seasons a the Public Address Announcer) invited me to participate in the training of the program for the Wrigley Field staff. I gave a few words of what it has meant to me to be involved all of these years. I met the front line employees who would be the faces and voices of the organization, and I liked what I saw. The new ownership and management of the Chicago National League Ballclub, (it’s official name), had brought in some folks from the Walt Disney Company to help them understand what customer service looks like from the Disney point of view.
As in any training, some words and concepts hit home and really leave a mark, while others don’t quite sink in. Over the course of the season, I paid close attention to the way the ushers and service personnel at the old ball yard interacted with the paying customers… better known as fans. I came to know a number of these folks by name and by their personalities. Without ever showing my intent, I would interact with anyone and everyone who made up the crew known as game-day employees. It was a less than desirable season in the standings, but the smiles, the courtesies and the willingness to please was impossible to ignore. One day early in the spring, I noticed a couple of young men whose job it was to coordinate the bike rack. I noticed that more and more bikers were riding to the game and I watched Miguel and Josh greet each biker with a smile and a genuine sense of welcome. One day, I decided to talk with them and discovered that these two lads were the epitome of what customer service is supposed to be. I had that very conversation at the National Speakers Association National Convention this summer with one of my trusted friends in the business of professional speaking. Mark LeBlanc speaks a great deal about the little things that count to make any businesses successful. We agreed that one of a company’s greatest assets is great employees. I thought about the conversation I had with my two young friends from much earlier in the year and brought it up again to them as the final home game arrived this past week. We had discussed how I had pointed out that they were an integral part of the “Wrigley Field Experience.” I emphasized the point by describing an experience such as this… you had ridden your bike to the ballgame, enjoyed an afternoon of sunshine, hot dogs, Old Style beer and baseball (unfortunately, too often, in that order) and then stepped out to see that your bike was missing… that would ruin everything. My point is simple. Don’t ever think that any job is too small to be recognized and appreciated. Look for people who choose to enjoy what they do and help others to enjoy their experience too. I salute my personal choices for Employees of the Year from the Chicago Cubs: My pals, the Left Field Bike Checkers, Juan Salazar and Miguel Barriga. Well done, fellas! Little things DO make a difference.