I have a maternal uncle who used to work for P & T – Posts and Telegraphs. Not many in the current generation would have even heard of this department. There was a time when Posts and telecommunications were together. My uncle was an engineer who joined this department in early sixties. He used to work mostly in sites hundreds of miles away from his family. He was not a very well off man and had a reasonably large family. So he would be worried whether his salary was credited to his account by the due date. He would call the office from the god forsaken sites he was working in and would invariably find that the relevant clerk had gone out to have chai or had gone home early or was yet to come into office. But his saviour would be an unconnected man who was not even dealing with salaries. But he would immediately respond – “Varadharajan? Employee no:…. Your salary has been credited on …….”. My uncle would say every office has one *Fool* like this. All office run because of such fools who dedicate their lives to the organisation and the people who work with them.
My uncle is not the only person who has mentioned this. I have a schoolmate who is a successful auditor. He comes from a family of auditors but his father was not one. So he was denied an entry into this old firm. He worked his way up from nothing to a very successful career. He used to quote one of his uncles – behind every successful turn around story there is one man who has spent his entire life. You look at any successful organisation, you will find one man silently slogging and ensuring the success of that organisation. When an organisation does well and has become successful it will attract lot of talent but it is those dedicated individuals who may not be very flashy who build a successful organisation from scratch.
Getting back to my uncle and his stories, the instant experts on social media especially Twitter always remind me of this story of his – In one of his earliest projects, he had to make an estimate of various requirements. One of those was of cotton waste for wiping hands equipments of oil and grease while erecting. One helpful assistant told him to estimate it at 1/2 a % of the project cost, a reasonable estimate in his view.
Few days later my uncle found scores of lorries with huge loads in their back standing outside the site. What my uncle found out about them stunned him. The purchase department thought it wise to buy all the requirements at one go. The entire cotton waste overestimated may be few hundred times was bought at one go and delivered. He had a very tough time storing and safeguarding the highly inflammable material over the next couple of years of that project.
On a serious note, look around your organisation. You will find a person who is not flashy, not the most successful but holds the team together. Acknowledge his contribution. (S)He does not care for the money. It is this acknowledgement that they long for.