Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hugs, Handshakes, & Hi-5's

Hugs, Handshakes, & Hi-5’s

A couple of weeks ago I went home to Grayson, KY to visit my family.  At church our pastor gave the opening announcements and then asked the congregation to engage in hugs, handshakes, & hi-5’s…to meet someone new and/or just say hello to someone before sitting down for the message.  A light bulb went off…what a great OneMoreStep opportunity.

OneMoreStep Thought for this Week: Never underestimate the power of a meaningful hug, a genuine handshake, or an enthusiastic Hi-5…Hugs, Handshakes, & Hi-5’s can be great OneMoreSteps that make a real impact in the lives of others.


Sure in today’s society we must be careful with this one.  We can’t get carried away.  However as long as they’re given at appropriate times, in the appropriate context, to the appropriate people, what an impact a simple hug can make.  It shows people that we care, and in doing so it puts a smile on their face.  At the end of the day, isn’t that reason enough to give someone a hug?  Isn’t that a chance to go OneMoreStep to make an impact? 

A young lady at work has only been on my team for a little over one month.  She worked in Housekeeping before, and came highly recommended by one of my peers in Hotel Operations…plus this individual had reached out to me personally, requesting a transfer to our team.  She was qualified.  I love her personality, so we transferred her to our Identity Membership team.  Last week she celebrated her birthday, and though I have very little vocal talent, I like to sing for fun…so I broke her off a couple bars of “Happy Birthday to you...”  She smiled, laughed, gave me a big old huge hug, and thanked me for hiring her; she told me how happy she was working in our area. 

I had been frustrated with some things earlier that morning…nothing major, just routine, everyday frustrations.  However, that hug reminded me what it’s all about – doing things to make people happy – and I had a little extra bounce in my step for the rest of the week. 


Call me old fashioned, but there is just something about a genuine, firm handshake.  I like it because it’s a versatile OneMoreStep.  A handshake can say “hi nice to meet you”, “hi great to see you again”, “hi thank you so much”, “hi great job with that…”, “hi congratulations on your success”,  or “have a great day, I’ll see you later”.

Think about it…so many times we say these things to others at work, at home, or in our communities; and many times other people say these things to us.  However, nowadays everyone is in a hurry.  We’re all so focused on our next thing, our next meeting, and our next appointment.  Taking an extra three seconds, exerting a fraction more energy to extend our arm for a genuine handshake, parlayed with meaningful eye contact can be a OneMoreStep that makes a difference.  It could be that little something extra or that element of professionalism that sets us apart and truly makes an impact.

In 2003 I was a Front Desk Manager, part of the opening team of Disney’s Pop Century Resort.  During the weeks leading up to opening day, our leadership team facilitated a great deal of training.  One day I was speaking to a group of about 150 Cast Members about Guest Service.  I had prepared for my portion of the training program, and I remember being pretty passionate about the topic. 

After that training session, the General Manager of the property, Dave Vermeulen (now the Vice President, Resort Operations at Hong Kong Disneyland), stopped by, called me over, and said, “hey I listened to your speech to the group…you were very engaging and they were hanging on every word…nice job.”  He then gave me a handshake that I have not and will never forget.  That was eight years ago, and here I am blogging about it today.  So never underestimate the power and impact of a genuine handshake.


This one is fun, and I’ll admit is my favorite.  We can drag ourselves into work each day, put our heads down, do our work, and then go home…OR we can engage people with a genuine “hi”, a smile, and a OneMoreStep – Hi-5! 

If you don’t like to have fun…if you don’t like to smile…if you don’t like to laugh…or better yet, if you don’t like to make other people smile…then by all means, don’t give out Hi-5’s. 

However, if you’re interested in a sure fire way to draw out smiles from folks that are down in the dumps; if you’re interested in adding just the slightest bit of fun to your work or relationships…throw out some Hi-5’s to your friends, coworkers, Guests, customers, and maybe even your boss.  It’s a great way to say hi, thank you, great job, or keep it up…it makes people smile…and it’s just fun.  #hi-5!

My good friend, Sonny Ritacca, always reminds us, “high-fives are free”.  What a great high-fiver Sonny is too.  It’s contagious.  We often open up conversations with total strangers, our servers in restaurants, folks seated next to us at sporting events, and even people at work.  One way or another, it always makes things more fun.
Kelly Slater, Sonny Ritacca, & Me - Huntington Beach, CA

This past weekend Sonny and I were in Huntington Beach, CA during the US Open of Surfing.  While at Dukes - Huntington Beach, surfing great, Kelly Slater, came in the restaurant.  We had such positive karma around us from giving out several hi-5’s to people around us that we eventually found ourselves hanging out with Kelly Slater himself.  

 I congratulated Kelly on his big win at the US Open of Surfing earlier in the day, told him that I lived in the Orlando, FL area for ten years, and we’re proud of him…he is from Cocoa Beach, FL.  He gave me a Hi-5 and had no problem taking a picture with us.  Hi-5’s are fun, and they can be a great OneMoreStep to make somebody’s day a little better, make someone smile, or like in this case…make a memory.

One for the road…

Lee Cockerell, former Executive Vice President of Operations at the Walt Disney World Resort, says in his book, Creating Magic, that we should give people the A.R.E.  Appreciation – Recognition – Encouragement.  A.R.E. is the only resource that doesn’t cost a penny, and the more you give it out, even more goes right back into the tank.  The more we show people that we appreciate them, recognize them for their contributions, and encourage them to keep on keep’n on…the more others will strive to do the same.

Hugs, Handshakes, and Hi-5’s are great ways to deliver the A.R.E – Appreciation – Recognition – Encouragement.  Try it this week...I think I will too...

Have a great day… #hi-5!


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