I received an email from a former colleague who was alone in a hotel room – reminiscing about the time she and I attended a conference and roomed together so another colleague could have a room alone. The thing is, that was twenty years ago!
I have absolutely no recollection of the action, but it has stuck with her for two decades. She wrote: “I’ll never forget how you roomed with me because you felt [our colleague] would appreciate her own room since she had kids at home. I was always struck by your insight. Today I find myself alone in a hotel room. It’s heavenly!!!”
In ways that you don’t notice or expect, your actions are shaping the culture and communicating to others what is important. People take cues and make meaning out of the smallest actions – and may remember them decades later. As I teach my leadership class, everyone is watching the behavior of the leader. Be intentional about what there is to see.