The Doors of Wisdom Are Never Shut

tds wreathIt began as just another Marketing campaign.  As all Marketing professionals know, it’s as important to serve your internal clients as well as your external clients.  For me, my internal clients are not just the members of my Trust Data Solutions team, but include all my co-workers and colleagues at our parent company, Texas Trust Credit Union.  Texas Trust Credit Union is located in five North Texas cities with 8 branches spread across 5 counties employing approximately 200 workers.

I caught the Christmas bug early this year and the Monday after Thanksgiving, I arrived at work at 6:00 AM with several tubs and proceeded to deck the halls of TDS.  It must have been this same spirit that ignited the Marketing campaign.  I suggested that TDS sponsor a Holiday Door Decorating Contest for our Credit Union co-workers.  The idea snowballed, we developed the guidelines, a prize was established, I created a nifty flyer to announce the contest, distributed the flyer, and then sat back to await the results.  A week later, I had a dozen departments and/or branches declare their entry into the contest.

On Friday, December 16th the judging took place.  This is where the fun began.  You see I am a loud, out-spoken, opinionated, animated fellow overflowing with ideas and strategies; i.e. your typical marketer.  However, I am the only team member of TDS that is not a software developer/programmer.  I often have to interrupt TDS meetings when acronyms are flown about and ask my team members to break it down for me.  However, on judging day I coaxed my COO and two Senior Staff team members to become Marketers for a day.  I coordinated our wardrobe and filled red Santa sacks filled with chotzkies to give away to our credit union brothers and sisters.  I coordinated our traveling route, announced our anticipated arrival to the participants, gave my new Marketing team a pep talk, slapped some reindeer antlers and elf hats on their heads and pulled our sleigh out of the parking lot.  I expected a fun day, but was unprepared for what awaited me.

As you know, if you work for a medium or large business with multiple locations, you can spend months or even years talking and emailing to fellow associates without actually meeting them face to face.  Occasionally you may see a picture or attend a companywide event but that doesn’t equal the pleasure and delight of meeting comrades face to face.  As we visited participating contingents I got to meet and chat with Kenda, Susie, Pat, Tonya, Janice, Robert, Juanita, Travis, Rita, Christi…the list goes on.  What a delight to spend some face to face time with these hard working individuals.

And the doors.  My God, the doors!  What an impressive display of creativity and ingenuity.  In my personal life, I am fortunate to work within the Dallas Theater and opera world where I am in awe of the staggering talent and the results of collaboration between artists both on stage and off stage in producing a singular piece of art.  I was just as overwhelmed with the creativity and imagination of my credit union brothers and sisters.  Their enthusiasm was contagious as they would describe to me how the theme of their door was established, how concepts were conceived and then embellished.  I could see the pride and the twinkle in their eyes as they identified elves which they photoshopped their own images onto or as they detailed the raw materials and methods they employed to make the snowmen so textured and unique.

And did you know that doors were three-dimensional?  The cowboy snowman had a bale of hay sitting beside him.  A tray full of cookies and milk was left for Santa.  Beautifully wrapped presents extended beyond the plane of a magically decorated Christmas tree. The use of space was very resourceful.  One display covered a wall full of doors.  A small nook was transformed into the night before Christmas complete with roaring fireplace, sparkly inviting gifts beneath the largest of a forest of golden trees.  It never occurred to me to under-estimate my co-workers, after all I didn’t know many of them, but I was completely blown away with the dazzling talent and innovative collaboration exhibited. What began as a marketing campaign seemed to develop into team building adventures which blossomed into accomplishments which were obviously constructed with time and care.

This is a contest and there is a friendly cash prize for the department/branch with the highest scores.  However, when you examine even the smallest of teams, the winnings, when split, will be modest at best.   While every department obviously wants to be proclaimed the winner, the smiles, pride and excitement I absorbed by mingling with my colleagues told me that the work, energy and time they devoted to this adventure was about more than money.  There was a tangible feeling of magic, spirit and fun overflowing.  It’s astonishing what can result from just a smidge of positive energy pointed in the right direction.   The victorious team will receive their prize today.  However, all the joy, excitement and spirit generated by these impressive Texas Trust posses have left me feeling that I just may be the biggest winner.

Visit our Facebook Page or YouTube Page to view the 2011 TDS Door Decorating Video.

The Doors of Wisdom Are Never Shut – Benjamin Franklin

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