Crystal Clear Picture of “Employee Engagement”

GIVEAWAY!!! Leave a comment on this blog and we’ll enter your name into our April 24, 2018, drawing for an autographed hardcover 5th edition QBQ! book!

Is your organization striving for high-level “employee engagement”?

If so, here’s a story from Anna, a superintendent of schools in Virginia, presenting a crystal clear picture of an engaged team member. Good stuff. Enjoy and … share on!

Anna’s Story Is Howard’s Story

John, I’ve listened to “QBQ!,” “Flipping the Switch,” and “Outstanding!” several times on audio. I love how such practical content can change a life so much and make my world a happier place. I now look for examples to share. Here’s one …

I rented a large garbage dumpster to be delivered to my house. When the truck driver, Howard, called me at work, I left to meet him. I’d told the phone rep that I have two large columns on each side of my driveway that could be a problem, so I wanted to be there.

When I arrived home, I saw a huge truck sitting on the street in front of my house. I instantly knew there was no way that vehicle was getting past those columns.

So I exited my car to begin my “walk of shame” toward the driver, expecting to be told I’d wasted his time.

Instead, Howard cheerfully informed me he would turn his vehicle around to get a better angle and try again. I had little hope as I couldn’t see how that truck and dumpster would ever fit through my driveway opening.

I got back in my car while he made the second attempt.

Bummer. No go.

Howard then pulled up next to me, lowered his window and here’s what he didn’t do:

He did not tell me it wasn’t going to work.

He did not say he was leaving and would still get paid for his time.

He did not make fun of the lady who thought such a massive truck could fit through such a narrow opening.

He did not quit on me!

What Howard said was, “Look, I have a smaller truck back at the shop. I really think I can get this to fit. You go back to work and I’ll have the dumpster sitting next to your garage when you get home tonight.”

I couldn’t believe it. This delivery was using a ton of his time—and it wasn’t like he was getting paid extra for the extra effort. 

I went back to work.

Later, when I got home, that dumpster was sitting right where it needed to be. The next morning I called C&S Disposal to tell them they have the most AMAZING worker on the planet and his name is Howard!

Be Outstanding, Be Like Howard

When I read Anna’s story, it occurred to me that organizations work hard on “employee engagement”—and Howard’s actions and attitude constitute exactly what can be achieved,

Here’s our QBQ, Inc. definition of Employee Engagement:

The emotional commitment team members possess that drives them to care deeply about their work, results, organization, and customers.

Thanks to Anna and Howard, we now know exactly what high-level employee engagement looks like. We hope it’s happening in your organization! ?


Are you a Howard? Do you know a Howard? Share a story or a comment now! 

GIVEAWAY!!! Leave a comment on this blog and we’ll enter your name into our April 24, 2018, drawing for an autographed hardcover 5th edition QBQ! book!


21 Responses

  1. Hi John. I love these stories of people doing the right thing for the right reason. They always make my day and remind me to praise people who do the right thing. These are positive reminders that some people still know the difference between right and wrong. Thanks. Steven

  2. There are a lot of “Howards” around us… and we need to remember to tell them they are truly appreciated for their attitude and efforts!
    And it’s ok to remind those “not so caring” types which whom we do business that a good attitude makes both of us feel better!

  3. This story makes me so happy. I am almost finished reading Flipping the Switch with my group at work and the stories and lessons in this book have touched me in many ways. Today I read the chapter about your father, what an honorable man! Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experiences not only through QBQ and Flipping the Switch but also by these blogs!

  4. Just want to express how a particular auto service, namely Tires & More, which proved that service is still evident in today’s hectic workplace.

    I had a rusty screw on my license plate which was very stubborn in removing. I took it to my car dealership and he stated that he would not have the time to spend on it and that he would have to charge time and parts cost for the job! I was shocked. After all the money and things I had him do, he could not remove a screw and replace with a another.

    So, I happened to be near Tires & More getting lunch at MacDonalds. I may have done one oil change or so there. I stopped in and asked about this problem. They immediately came out and took the bad screw out. However one of the screws broke and thus needed to be drilled out. He said, “No problem, I will come to your company and pick up the car and have it done.”

    The next day, everything happen has he stated. All this free of charge. That’s what I call customer service.

  5. Whenever I receive these stories it makes me take a good look at my own employees and remember to thank each and every one for their hard work and dedication.

  6. My favorite story like this involved a young lady who worked the window at a Burger King Restaurant. Whenever I would travel (take my car) on business, I would leave early in the morning about 6:00 and make the stop at Burger King to get a cup of coffee for the road. Most folks have been through drive-throughs and can attest that for some reason it is hard to understand what the clerk is saying.

    This was not the case.

    The first thing I would hear EVERY TIME I would stop was, Good Morning this is Paula, how may I help you?” She would then repeat the order back to me. When I would pay her she ALWAYS made sure she put one hand beneath my receiving hand to make sure none of the change fell to the ground. She put the change in my hand first and then the bills.

    I wrote to the manager of Burger King and told him how satisfied she always made me feel even if it was just for a cup of coffee. Several weeks later I found my self on the road and made the stop. She went through her greeting and when I got to the window she said, “I know it was you! You sent my manager the note card didn’t you?” I admitted I did and then she told me that she got bumped up the ladder and received a pay raise because of that one note card. The point is that it was NOT the note card, it was the manager who TRAINED her to serve her customers as she did and she performed outstandingly for what a lot of folks consider to be a “hamburger flipper.”

    Lesson for me was that no matter what your job or position, be the best that ever performed the work; people will notice.


  7. The world needs more Howards! I love the ownership that he took and the ‘can-do’ spirit. Where there is a will there is a way. Keep the accountability stories coming – it reminds of the way things could and should be. I would love to share Flipping the Switch with my Team.

  8. John,

    Interprint is full of Howards thanks to you and QBQ message. Hope all is well, keep up the great work!

    Dave Field

  9. I have a great example – that during the process kept reminding me of your book:

    I work for a company, BSM Consulting, that is really committed to QBQ. We have all read the book and the vocabulary is part of the culture here. My son is a distance runner. When he was in middle school he worked in a bike store during the summer and a coworker gave him a pair of cycling socks that were neon green and had Elvis on them. He loved them and they became his lucky socks.

    He wore them for four years for every track or cross country meet. He won four state titles in those socks – and they started to look really bad. One sock got a hole and he watched a YouTube video to learn how to darn socks so he could keep wearing them for his races. By the middle of his junior year in high school I was desperate for a new pair of Elvis socks. I occasionally bought him a wild pair of socks to replace the Elvis socks, but he refused. I scoured eBay and other online sources to no avail.

    In December, I found out they were DeFeet socks that were made for a 2013 trade show. On a whim, I filled out a “contact us” form on the DeFeet website. The next morning I was shocked to see a reply from Kerry at Defeet. She indicated some employees kept limited edition socks and she would send out an email to see if anyone had a pair. No one did, so she offered to check in their warehouse where odds and ends were housed. Again she was unable to find another pair of the Elvis socks.

    The next day I received an email, “We searched around the House of DeFeet, and that sock is looooong gone. However, GOOD NEWS! I just talked to production who said they could run a sample of the sock using the original artwork (which we still have in file) for you.

    I was so excited, and for the next few days we finalized the details. We determined I would have the socks by Christmas for him. The next day I got another email: “You are not going to believe this as I didn’t either…the socks were made this morning and are shipping today!” The rest of her team was also excited to make these special socks for my son, so the job was moved to the front of the production line. Kerri didn’t take all the glory either, saying, “I have a GREAT group of co-workers that can make magic happen sometimes.” We got the socks early enough that we could come up with some really creative packaging…my husband hollowed out the inside of a test prep book (it’s SAT time around here) and we hid the socks inside.

    When my son opened his last present on Christmas morning, he was first horrified at receiving a SAT prep book, then in tears over the brand new, but exactly the same, Elvis socks. We all cried and then I was able to text Kerri pictures of him opening the gift. Best customer service experience ever – I recommend DeFeet socks to everyone!

  10. Thank you John for these stories. We often hear about the bad service but not enough of the good. I try to call and speak to a supervisor when I have exceptional help to let them know of the helpful person.

  11. Customer service is alive and well, just not everywhere. I had been running errands with my sister all day. I had dropped her back off at her car, but when I tried to get mine to start again, no-go! AAA was less then helpful–a 2 hour wait for a service call. I was within sight of an auto repair chain that I trusted. I called directory assistance to get a number–they gave me the number of the other location, but they were happy to give me the number for the location that I was near. The guys near me carried a charger half a block down the street to get the car started, then replaced my alternator and got me on my way in just over an hour. Not bad for 2 on a Saturday! I sent their manager and the chain owner a note thanking them for their employees and letting them know that they had gone well beyond what would be expected.

  12. I really enjoyed reading this book. I constantly as the QBQ in order to make myself better in the industry.

  13. Love reading all the stories in the comments as well as the “dumpster” story. Looking forward to reading Flipping the Switch, too. Ordering it today! Keep up the good work, John!

  14. I work in a call center and I have found that once I began implementing the QBQ concepts into my life. I cannot say that the things that happen to me have changed, but how I view them has. I have began taking responsibility for the mistakes that I could have prevented and overall I think my quality of work has improved some.

  15. Love these and try my best to learn adapt and live by the information I learn! Still need work but always striving to be the best I can be!

  16. I truly love hearing stories like the ” dumpster ” story. It reminds me of a quote that I Collected many years ago from Princess Diana that I have been writing in my yearly planner for 7 years now…. ” Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” That my friends brings it home for me !

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