You may think I’m talking about the person who gives amazing gifts.
There are those people out there. You know who I’m talking about. The person that shows up to your party with a handcrafted item that took a year to prepare and brings tears to your eyes! Those people are one-in-a million, but this time I am going to take it in another direction. The kind of gifts someone receives can you tell you a lot about who they are.
I truly believe that the amount of thought in a gift can be very telling of how you feel about someone. I’m not talking about price here at all. One of the most meaningful gifts my husband ever gave me was a branch from a tree. He was driving home, saw a tree with beautiful flowers on it. He pulled over and broke off a branch (sorry to owners of the house) and brought it home because it made him think of me.
Gifts like that can’t be matched.
Typically, we will all get a few of those special gifts mixed in with the regular “I love you, but I only had time to pick up a gift card” gift. I’m not downing the gift card—I love gift cards, but it is rare that you get a roomful of gifts with time, care, and thought put into almost every one.
Here at EZ Micro, we just celebrated Dave Dooley’s 50th birthday and wanted to do something special. We decided to throw him a $1 birthday party. It’s a fun and unique way to celebrate someone, and the only rule is that you can’t spend more than $1.
While the party was fun just on its own, I was really touched by the gifts he got. You could tell that the people here value him in their own unique way.
The “big” gift was something we all contributed to that didn’t follow the $1 rule. I asked everyone to give me a few words or sentence about what they thought about Dave. I then turned the words and phrases into word art. Here’s how it turned out:
I know it’s going to be hard to read it online, so here are just a few of the sentences that really moved me:
“Dave is one of the most compassionate, genuinely kind and understanding men I have ever met in my life. His outlook on everything from business to interpersonal relationships is inspiring and tremendously positive.”
“Dave is the most fair and reasonable person I have ever worked for. He is the personification of a servant leader. For the first time in my working career, I have a job that I never want to leave because of him. He’s also a genuine, down to earth, fun guy to be around personally. He puts the EZ in EZ Micro for me.”
“Dave has earned a great amount of respect from me because he truly cares about both his customers and his employees like no other owners I have ever worked for.”
Next came the $1 presents. They were funny, silly, and inspiring, but all of them reflected both the employee who gifted them and who Dave is as a person. I took a picture of some of the $1 gifts to give you an idea of how much fun $1 can bring. They were a mixture of funny, useful, nice, and crazy. If any of them don’t make sense to you, it’s probably an inside joke that we have here at the office that made us all laugh:
Even on the $1 gifts he was getting quotes like this:
“Being that my office is next to yours, I see the stream of people who come to ask questions every day. I always feel bad about having to ask you questions, because I know it interrupts you from whatever you have planned to do. But when I read this quote, I realized it says a lot about the kind of boss you are: “The day the soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.” (Colin Powell ) You definitely are not failing at leadership.”
I have worked for companies where my boss and/or the board was wonderful, and I have worked for companies where my boss and/or the board was unethical and just plain mean. I have rarely, however, ever worked for someone that inspires this type of loyalty and devotion across the board. People want to do their best for him because he believes in them.
So for his 50th, hopefully Dave’s best present was seeing how much he truly means to all of his employees.