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how to be a best employer

This story is simply one of the basic lessons in life – and in business even more so. People have long memories, they move from company to company. Some of the lessons I learned 20 years ago as a young marketer I keep with me today.

This story is one I want to share with my children. If we get this right… then really the world is a great place to be every day. We live in a fantastic country – have you ever heard of the concept ‘Play it forward’.

The story of Father and Son (thanks to Richard Sauerman for the inspiration on this one.)

    A dad and his son were walking in a forest. Suddenly the son tripped, and feeling a sharp pain he screamed out, “Arrrghhhhhh!” Then he heard a voice coming back from the mountain: “Arrrghhhhhh!”
    Filled with curiosity, he screamed out again: “Who are you?” And the voice screamed back again: “Who are you?”
    This got him a little frustrated, so he hollered out “You are a coward!” Again the voice hollered back: “You are a coward!”
    He looked at his father and asked, “Dad what is going on?” His Dad smiled, and said, “Listen to this”. Then he screamed out, “I admire you!”. The voice screamed back: “I admire you!”
    “You are wonderful!” The voice shouted back: “You are wonderful!”
    The son still looked confused. So his dad explained.

“People call this an ‘echo’, but what it really is, is ‘life’. Life always gives you back what you give out. If you want love, if you want to be happy, then make others happy. If you want kindness, be kind to others. If you want respect and understanding, be understanding and show respect.” “Life is a mirror of your actions.” –

    Author unknown.

The satisfaction mirror in organisations is so similar. (That is companies who have high employee engagement will also have much higher customer loyalty.) If you love your employees, listen to them, respect them, and value their contribution – they will deliver it back in bucket loads not just to the business – but to customers. And customers, of course, are the source of our success.

Employees are the new customers.

We have never needed our employees more than we need them now in challenging times.

Reader Interactions


  1. Naomi I love that story. It’s also a really powerful visualisation tool to have when you start to have any negative internal dialogue. I’ll pass it on. Look forward to hanging out soon. J

  2. Hi Naomi, you are one inspirational lady. I know it’s a little late, but congratulations on winning the telstra award, it is well deserved. I stumbled across your website about 2yrs ago just by chance actually looking for whats new in chocolate and somehow "red balloon" was in the field, (must have been fate) I emailed and came on board as a supplier, the rest is history, I find myself checking my email before breakfast to see if there are any bookings now, it’s always a thrill to lock in one of your customers to one of our workshops. You have a fantastic business and staff that manage it. Economic downturn has affeted us in retail sales but the classes are up to the point of having had to employ staff so we can increas the numbers from 6 per class to 8 now. We will be putting other programs together as well.

    I love being part of your organization as a supplier, so many thanks for your inspirational attitue to life.

    Sylvia Blackburn

  3. Hi Sylvia, Thanks for your kind words… We really appreciate you looking after the RedBalloon customers and making sure they have a good time. You can be assured that we are all working very hard here to ensure we deliver as much business as we can to our supplier community. Keeping business in Australia. Cheers

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