What comes to mind when you think about the classic kids book, “Where’s Waldo?” You probably think about the red and white stripes outfit and you remember LOOKING for him.
That is the point of the book.
Waldo is lost in the crowd and the reader has to find him.
When it comes to the kids book you won’t find Waldo, unless you INTENTIONALLY look for him. Each week “Waldo” visits your world. Each week he or she comes in and gets lost amongst the people around you. Waldo is lost in the crowd and the leader has to welcome him/her.
Be on the lookout for the Waldo’s of the world. Most often Waldo doesn’t want to be be lost in a crowd. Most people don’t show up at your workplace, visit your store, or move into your neighborhood hoping to get overlooked. As leaders we need to be on the lookout for Waldo so we can serve them, help them, and build them up. It’s ultimately not about money, it is about humanity.
What does Waldo look like?
WALDO’S are the people that you don’t see unless you look: the quiet shopper, the unassuming client, the person who doesn’t already have friends, the person you don’t recognize, the person who often comes early and minds their own business.
We have too many Waldo’s. Will YOU reach out to the Waldo’s in the world?
6 PRACTICAL TIPS ON HOW FIND WHERE’S WALDO
- – FIRST… Try to remember what it was like when you were new (to the workplace, to leadership, to your world). Do you remember being the newbie? I do. It feels AWKWARD. No one likes to feel neglected and awkward. Maybe… maybe YOU have never felt awkward, that’s great! But, that is not most people. Try to imagine how other people feel.
- – THEN… choose to be INTENTIONAL. Start looking. Keep your eyes open.
To find Waldo in the book you have to intentionally look. Will you INTENTIONALLY look for new people this week and next and next? Will you keep your eyes open and heart open for people that otherwise might slip through the crack? Please do. Each week I am looking for the people around me that are hurting, isolated, or just need a friend.. “Of course you are! That is actually your job!” Yes, I have been trained to look for people and now I am training you. Be on the lookout.
- – Don’t get caught up just talking to YOUR friends. I know you like seeing your friends. I do too. Get together with your friends often. Friendships add value to life. Just don’t forget what it was like before your friends. Remember the classic adage: ‘make new friends and keep the old, one is silver and the other is gold.’ You never know how much Waldo will bring to your life when you choose to add value to him/her.
- – Introduce new/unknown people to the people you know. Be a connector. This is such a simple strategy to make such a profound impact. As a new customer walks in find a way to introduce her to another person at the store. As a new employee begins their job, bring them out to lunch with some people you know. Whatever your realm of influence use your connections to include new people.
- – Master the art of excusing yourself. You see someone new and you say to the people you are already talking to, “excuse me, I want to welcome this newcome.” This is good for you, for them and it helps others be aware of Waldo too. Better yet – bring your friends with you to meet new people!
- – Get over yourself. Yes, that is right. I said, “Get over yourself.” It’s not about you. It’s not. I’ll throw in a smiley face so you know that I’m still a nice guy :). There it is. See, I’m smiling.
People are not dollar signs. People are not income sources. People are not the problem in your life or work or service. People are precious. Watch what happens when you practice putting people first (especially the Waldo’s out there).
I’ve been a Waldo. I imagine that you have been one too. It’s a tough place to be. Let’s make the world a better place by taking simple steps to welcome the Waldo’s of life.
Taking the next step with you,
– Mike Acker