The people we work with every day are often the ones we know the least about - usually they have hidden talents & skills that would enrich our business and personal lives.  Here's an example of that: Jim was a CEO of a manufacturing company based in Chicago. One day, one of his employees, a janitor named Helen, suddenly died. That made Jim sad—then he was amazed to read that over 5000 people went to the womanʼs funeral, including a reporter from The Chicago Tribune. To Jim, Helen was just a janitor—but her full story was much, much more.

For twenty years, after the workday was over, Helen had been a choir director. She had organized and trained ten choirs at ten different churches. It was this life outside of work —a life her bosses knew nothing about—that made Helenʼs entire community turn out to pay its respects.

Jim contacted Helenʼs husband, to give his condolences. “Your wife was remarkable,” Jim said. “She mustʼve really been inspiring to people.” “Yes. And she had great organizational skills,” Helenʼs husband said. “Our company needs people like that. I wish Iʼd known!” From now on, Jim thought to himself, Iʼm going to know the total employee, not just what they do from nine-to-five. My company will discover and encourage gifted people who will share their stories and, whenever possible, support the entire person.

As a leader, do you know what your employees care about away from the office? Do you understand what inspires them or keeps them up late at night? How do you encourage your employees to break down “silos” and share their stories? How do you motivate your people to enrich and vitalize the work culture?

One program Jim started was a bi-monthly lunch where employees were encouraged to share who they were and what they did. People became interested in each otherʼs activities and projects. The most worthy projects were awarded grants from the organization and drew volunteers from all levels of the company. Jim has noticed an improved morale with more loyal employees, who stay with the company longer.

Join me at my Finding Your Story Workshop and release your hidden treasure!

(P.S. if that link doesn't work, copy and paste this one: