IMG_0393_goodsonThis was one of those times where I wish I had turned on the voice recorder on my phone! I was talking to Richard, a patient at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston. I was there in a “official” capacity. My wife Nancy is a member of the Houston Area Regent’s Council ( HARC ) of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). Each December, HARC hosts a Christmas party for veterans … lots of food, decorations, music by a talented all string high school orchestra and one-on-one conversations.  My official capacity? There is an acronym for husbands of DAR … yep, “HODAR”!  And I proudly wear my HODAR lapel pin at special DAR functions, including volunteering at this special Holiday event for deserved honorees!

Richard, a Vietnam vet, was awaiting test results and potential surgery. When I asked him about the rings on his left hand, he was pleased, I think, to change the subject from his medical schedule. The Masons ring belonged to his dad. The other ring, with the blue center stone, contained four diamonds.  Richard’s career journey began on an accounting/CPA track, interrupted by his military service in the Army. Somewhere along the accounting trail he found the auto industry that landed him in the customer service/repair area. Each diamond on his ring represented five years of service with the Goodson organization.

In our work at Heart Matters, it is important to me that tokens of appreciation are designed with the utmost attention to the recipient’s sense of meaning and contribution. To Richard, his ring was symbolic of contribution and belonging.  To Goodson, the ring was symbolic of their commitment in the corporate value of loyalty.

The bottom line: the expression by Goodson’s leadership elevated the significance of Richard’s work beyond an hourly rate.  The payoff: reduced turnover expense and increased employee expertise via mastery of best practices … which translates into elevated customer experiences of work done correctly and in a timely manner.