A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending my eldest son Jeremy’s final assembly at St Aloysius College. Yes, time has certainly flown past. It’s hard to imagine that all those years ago, my parents took the courageous step of sending me to Australia to do my Year 12 to fulfil their desire to give me the very best opportunity to realise my full potential and now, my own child has reached this key milestone.

The four hour session had a simple agenda – each Year 12 student was called up to grace the stage, one at a time, with the MC reading out a brief summary of his proudest achievements, favourite memories of the school and people they wished to thank. Each was acknowledged warmly by the audience of proud parents, teachers, their peers and other colleagues in the Senior School – from Years 8 to 12.

Throughout the assembly, spirits were high, the audience patient and it was not lost on me that the energy and applause did not flag for a single moment. I was equally moved by the symbolism of this wonderful gesture, which to me reflected the practice of the College’s values and culture – “Men for others, born for greater things”. Everyone assembled contributed her presence and energy united by the sole purpose of giving each student his 30-second “moment in the sun”, to make him feel truly acknowledged, appreciated, to realise that no matter who they were and the size of their achievements, how popular he had been with his school mates, he was a valued member of the family. I could see from the look in the eyes of these students the sense of pride and appreciation not just in themselves but in that moment, already strong bonds with their alma mater were strengthened.

It reminded me of the movie “Saving Private Ryan”, which tells the story of a group of soldiers sent, in the heat of war, by the US military leadership to track and bring home a soldier who had lost all his siblings in service. Huge risks and sacrifices made out of compassion and care for a family who had lost much, to make it known that people mattered, were valued.

Treat your staff as you would want them to treat your clients and this will translate into an even happier work environment, which in turn will lead to even better results and the bottom line!

A team is only as strong as its weakest link. In your company or family, how valued does each member feel? As a manager or leader, how much emphasis do you place on recognising and valuing your staff, or family members? To remind them that they count, that they make a difference each and every day to your life, their peers and your other stakeholders?

To your Success,