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The Difference between Succeeding and Exceeding

Written by Rebecca Okamoto on June 29, 2014

"No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave." Calvin Coolidge

"I heard you got emotional today."

The receptionist at work looked up and smiled. Today my team threw me a good-bye party - I'm moving on after 7 years, almost a quarter of my career, and I'm retiring from corporate life.

"I did." I told her. "I loved working here. I cared about the people in my organization, and I will miss each one of them.”

Once upon a time I was afraid to show emotion and to show people how much I cared. Even now, after all these years I wanted to be “strong” and I was distressed that people were crying about my departure. I talked it over with my former CEO, Reuben, and he gently corrected me,

“Becky, people don’t cry unless they care. Your people are crying because they love you. Honor and respect how much you matter to them and how much they matter to you.”

Reuben was right - my last parting gift to my organization was to tell them all how much they meant to me.

I do care.

I am a high achiever. I leave with Best in Company results, a string of records broken and the recognition as a pioneer for Asian American women. But when I reflect on what I’ve accomplished in my corporate career, NOTHING has been as rewarding as hearing someone say, "Thank you for caring about me.” And that was the difference between succeeding and exceeding.

Do you want people to care? Show them that YOU care.

There's no bigger investment you can make in the organization than caring.

I've learned that organizations will do remarkable things for their leader. Under my leadership people rose to the occasion and achieved remarkable results - not because of my inspiring speech or clarity of goals. They rose to the occasion because they wanted me to be proud of them, because they respected me.

Because they cared about me.

What I take away from a 20+ corporate career is that the "corporation" is not made up of goals, results, or records, but of people. People who care. And we honor them in return by telling them:

I care.

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