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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Morning Greetings

I try to be out in front of the school each morning to welcome people into the building. So far, I've been successful in meeting that responsibility, but a 7:30 am meeting tomorrow will prevent me from this opportunity. It's an important element in creating and sustaining an organizational culture constructed around people and relationships as the platform for achievement. Psychologist Abraham Maslow conducted landmark research on the needs of humans and established that there is a hierarchy of needs among people of all cultures across the globe. Until one level of need is properly addressed it's unlikely that the person will be able to advance to meet higher needs.

While I'm not doing this research justice in a summary, I will offer a brief overview. The most basic need is for safety, food, water, and shelter, since without these needs met the person won't exist very long. Maslow then cites a series of needs he classified into categories. It's interesting and worth noting that the human need for acceptance is considered a greater and more necessary need than the human need to achieve. It is precisely because of the message contained in this research that I've always prioritized acceptance above achievement and therefore invested more attention and energy toward accommodating the needs of people to feel affiliated, respected, and connected before motivating them to improve their grades and increase achievement.

That's why it's important to have learners and staff alike to be greeted as they enter the school. A great example of the significance of this initial contact can be found at Walmart. The giant discount shopping center has a greeter at their entrance. Usually, the greeter appears the age of a grandparent. they are jovial and congenial, often making comments beyond a simple hello or good morning. These greeters are not volunteers, they are paid staff members. Before you wonder why a business that is oriented around the bottom line of profits spends money on someone to perform such a trivial and apparently unnecessary function, think again. The purpose of the greeter at Walmart, beside offering directions to shoppers seeking a particular item, is to reduce theft. that's right - theft reduction.

Studies show that the mere interaction that a shopper has with the greeter is an effective deterrent to any thought of shoplifting because the brief exchange personalizes the experience as opposed to a potential thief going in the store and justifying ripping off a business because the store is an impersonal retail giant bulging with profits and huge amounts of money. Actually, while there are many reasons for Walmart to realize success it just may be because they have paid attention to small points, like greeters, that may a big difference. The cost of the greeter is less than the loss due to theft that the store experienced before they hired greeters, so the greeters pay for themselves! Now, if a greeter can have an impact like that at Walmart, you can only imagine the positive influence someone an have by welcoming people to school with a smile and comments on their new outfit or haircut, or questions about their favorite team or plans for the day.

It's a start.

1 comment:

  1. Dr. Mugits,

    Your smile in the morning light's my daughter up everyday and I fill blessed for that.

    Thank You!!!