Marking Historic Achievements

May 27, 2021

This month I enjoyed reflecting on two perspectives of honoring achievement. One is historic that happened in the 19th century in the US and the other, a traditional event that takes place this year in Japan. To me, both were, and are, enriched by the marking of “finished” with an artistry and symbolism that lives on beyond the success. 

Making History at Work ?

This month is the 152nd anniversary of the Promontory Summit, Utah event that marked the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The joining of the Central Pacific from the West and the Union Pacific from the East ceremoniously dedicated by driving golden spike, the “Last Spike”, by Leland Stanford. Also, appropriately, the last two rails on the Union Pacific side thrusting westward were laid by Irishmen and on the Central Pacific thrusting eastward, last two rails were laid by the Chinese.

Where You Work

As a leader, think about the work that people perform for you and the opportunity to honor their contributions. Important projects, or goals, that are essential to your success always have defined metrics, that mark “finished”.

I love railroads and have fond memories as a child and adult of train travel. Hence my interest in the vision and construction of the transcontinental railroad.

Think about your own corporate vision, then think of your workforce that will move you toward that destination. Then on arrival, mark the event with your own “Last Spike”. Question: how would this idea translate into a fitting memento in your company for completions of major initiatives … or records set?

Bronze, Silver, Gold Symbolism

Years ago, Visible Applause implemented a safety recognition program with a major US construction company. The program recognized annual safety performance around a list of leading and trailing of criteria, and depending on final aggregate score, were presented bronze, silver or gold medallions. In business, like the Olympics, no one works with the goal of winning the bronze. The point is, people will strive for gold always. We go to work to make our mark.  My perspective … mark it!

Speaking of the Olympics, delayed a year and kicking off next month in Japan, the story of the 2020 Olympic medallions is worth viewing