Top Nav

Don’t You Know Who I Am?

 T Paul ThomasBecause we are starting a new year, the idea of New Year’s resolutions comes to mind. Just this week, someone sent me an email and asked if businesses should have New Year’s resolutions just like individuals do. While I have never done this for my companies (with the exception of a financial plan or budget), there are two things that come to mind. If every business and organization were to adopt these Business Resolutions for 2016, it would be a wonderful year. My suggestion resolutions are:


  1. Stop using the phrase, “Do you know who I am?”


There are several variations on this, such as “Do you know I am Platinum/Gold status,” or “Do you know my company flies millions of miles on your airline,” or “I stay at this hotel at least 100 nights a year?”

My oldest son, Matthew, graduated from Northern Arizona University in the Hospitality Program and was immediately hired by the Walt Disney Company. After nearly three years with Disney, he went through countless hours of customer service training and how to treat guests (that is Disney-speak for customers or clients). In 2014, Matthew left Disney for the Drury Inn and Suites here in Flagstaff.

One morning while dropping by to visit with Matthew, I was surprised to see a very well known “official” from the university berating and yelling at the poor front desk agent. Because this individual wasn’t getting the special treatment he or she felt was deserved, this was shouted, “Don’t you know who I am?” The front desk agent did know who that person was.

If you have ever used the phrase, “Don’t you know who I am?” (or any of the many variations), make it your 2016 Business Resolution to stop. Stop embarrassing yourself and your organization. And stop harassing hard working, poorly paid front desk agents, airline agents, etc., who are just trying to follow the rules and treat their guests equally.


  1. Go out of your way to let employees know they are valued and important.


Of all the columns I wrote in 2015, the ones that got the most response were those that dealt with taking care of employees, good management practices and motivating employees. Let me stress what I’ve tried to say in the past. It isn’t about money, compensation or benefits. If you do these five things in 2016 with each of your employees, I guarantee you will see a positive impact in your organization.


  1. Give your employees an annual performance review. Again, this isn’t about a pay raise. Take the time to detail what the employee is doing well and areas where you would like to help him or her improve. Give this real thought and effort.
  2. Hold a monthly or bi-monthly one-on-one with your employee. Set aside 30 minutes to meet with your employee – just the two of you – to review his or her work, projects and get feedback on how you are doing as a manager, mentor and leader.
  3. Give two hand-written notes to each employee. Write a note (not an email or a phone call) on that person’s birthday and again on his or her work anniversary date.
  4. Take your employees to lunch. Don’t you remember early in your career how you felt when your manager or the company president asked you to lunch and paid for it?!
  5. Acknowledge individuals and say “hello” when you pass them in the hall. A friend told me he knew a general manager of a large hospitality company. The GM carried a $100 bill in his pocket. Every employee knew that if that GM walked by and didn’t acknowledge him or her by name, and say “hello,” he or she could ask for that $100 bill.


For 2016, I’m not asking you to lose weight, exercise more, drink less or anything like that. I’m suggesting you treat employees and those with whom you interact on a daily basis a little bit better. You’ll feel better and your organization will be more successful. Here’s to a happy and prosperous 2016! FBN

By T Paul Thomas

T Paul Thomas teaches business and entrepreneurship at Northern Arizona University, serves as the CEO of the Northern Arizona Leadership Alliance (NALA) and is the Chief Entrepreneur at the NACET Accelerator. Prior to joining NAU in 2013, Paul spent 25 years as a serial CEO and President. Paul can be reached at thomas.tpaul@gmail.com.

, ,

One Response to Don’t You Know Who I Am?

  1. Bruce Z January 14, 2016 at 7:16 PM #

    Yes, I know who you are…Do YOU know who you are? -My favorite answer to the question.

Leave a Reply

Website Design by DRCMedia LLC