Let me share two quick stories.
I first learned about Shout Outs from my friend Leslie Baum at EO (Entrepreneurs’ Organization). She and I were working together on a big project in Texas. It was EO’s semi-annual conference. I was the Co-Chair of the event. And it was right here in my backyard in Houston.
During the event, we would start each day with an EO Event Staff team huddle. We’d talk about what we were going to do that day. What we needed to address from the day before. And really take time to get a game plan together for how we were going to knock the socks off our 750+ CEO guests from around the world that day.
But what struck me about these meetings was not so much about the event itself and the logistical things we needed to do each day—like how many chicken dinners we were serving and at what time.
No, what struck me was really about how that amazing group of EO Event Staff came together, that week, and created a solid, cohesive team that supported and lifted each other up.
One of the simple but powerful ways they did this was through a daily dose of Shout Outs. Here’s how it worked.
At the end of the daily huddle, each person could write down, on a little sticky note, a simple praise, thank you, kudos or acknowledgment about someone else on the team. Something they saw, witnessed or was impressed by.
These little sticky notes were then collected and read by the staff event chair for everyone to hear. And as they were being read, you could just see the folks who received the Shout Out just light up. It made their day.
Some were moving. Some were funny. But they all made a huge difference for everyone. So, so simple. And yet, so profoundly impactful.
Because over the week, as the event went on, I noticed that the folks who received the Shout Outs would paste the sticky notes on their laptops or in their work areas. Or they would make little notes saying “thanks for the Shout Out”. They were proud. And it showed.
After the event was over, I stole this idea and brought it back to our home office and incorporated it into our Daily Huddle. You may have read about our Daily Huddle in my book, Above the Line. We start everyday with a Daily Huddle, much like we did at that EO event.
At first, we tried to do it the way the EO staff members did it. By writing things down on little sticky notes and having them read aloud to the entire team at the end of the meeting. This worked pretty well.
But over time, we stopped writing them down and just started, well, shouting them out at the beginning of our Daily Huddle. What’s so cool about this format is that now the person doing the Shout Out not only gets to give another person praise or gratitude. But they also get to tell a story about what the person did, why the other person’s action was meaningful and how it made a difference for them.
I love these Shout Outs. In fact, it has become the best and brightest part of our Daily Huddle.
So, this morning, one of our managers, Helen, shouted out some really good stuff about one of our newest team members, Di. And it wasn’t just a quick and dirty “great job”. It was detailed and thoughtful.
I watched Helen talk about Di. About what she did, how she did it and why it made a difference for Helen, her team and the company.
But I was also watching Di take it in. It moved me so much that I jumped over to Di and excitedly asked, “are you taking all this in?!?”
Yes, she was.
But I also notice that Helen was beaming too. In the moment that she was telling us all about the great things Di was doing, the fact was that Helen was beaming just as bright. She was so enthusiastic. So energetic. And so genuinely proud of Di.
It showed. You could just feel the energy in the room. It set the tone for the whole day. And Helen’s enthusiasm rubbed off on us all.
When I dreamed of starting the kind of company I always wanted to work for, this is how I dreamed it would be like. People I love, working together, and doing it in a way that lifts everyone up.
In a simple and good way. So that we can all win. So that we can all learn and grow together. So that we can see the best and brightest in every individual. For the gifts they bring to the table. For who they are. And how they show up. And how they make a difference.
Yeah, that’s the company I dreamed about. That’s the company I get to be a part of.
And I love Shout Outs.