Building Your Leaders

At 7:30 a.m. the bank president and I walked into the bank together. I was fresh out of college and beginning a career as a manager in the human resources department.

As we approached the foyer doors, Leonard, the janitor, was busy doing his three-times-a-day routine of cleaning fingerprints off the glass. After exchanging the customary pleasantries, the bank president said to Leonard, "You are one of the most important people in this bank."

Leonard looked startled; he had never progressed beyond eight years of school.

The president continued, "Keeping this door clean and free of dirt and finger prints sends a message to every person walking in. It says we're neat and orderly. It creates a feeling of security where people know their money will be properly handled and accounted for. You're the first person to give them that message."

Reaching out to shake Leonard's hand, he added, "Thanks for doing a great job!"

The exchange took less than a minute. But in that brief encounter, the president ...

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