Memories matter because they are:
- Key to people’s sense of identity
- A connection of our past and how we image the future – good or bad
- Stored in our brain by relevance to us - not someone else
- Drivers of how we think and feel, which ultimately impacts how we act or react
- Not always perfect but can last a long time
Let me illustrate from my personal life. The event happened over 40 years ago on Christmas Eve. The setting was the small Adirondack department store, where my Mom and Gram worked. My Dad would also lend a helping hand on Christmas Eve, when his work schedule permitted, for the last minute rush. Late in the afternoon, a local dairy farmer and his 6 year old daughter entered the store. The young girl headed to the toy section and her father asked where he could find new shoes for his daughter’s Christmas present. My Dad led him to the aisle where girls ‘dress’ shoes were stocked. After checking styles and prices the father reluctantly shook his head and said quietly, “We can only afford one pair of shoes for her this year. They need to be ‘work’ shoes so she can do her chores.” They proceeded to the next aisle and found the size and shoe style needed. The farmer then continued his last minute shopping alone.
At the checkout, my Dad rang up the farmer’s purchases. Just before he closed the bag he put a second shoe box in it. The farmer shook his head and whispered, “Sir - we only bought one pair of shoes today.” My Dad softly replied, “Yes, you did. The second pair is a gift- a pair of dress shoes for your little girl. Merry Christmas!! ”
Even though I was a pre-teen at the time, memories of this Christmas Eve ‘exchange’ continue to influence my sense of identity – connect my past to current day - and impact how I act or react today. Memories matter!!!
So, in your organization, what are employees’ memories about the:
- Connection between what they specifically do and business goals
- Importance of following processes and procedures
- Changes made and those yet to come
- Value of their ideas
- Quality of performance reviews and individual development
- Relationships with leaders
- Sincere appreciation given for their contributions
Make an intentional effort to create positive memories and address negative ones in 2013. It will significantly influence relationships and organizational performance.