Applaud Your Spiderman

I few weeks ago I was doing a training session for managers on Motivation with MRI Global in Kansas City. As part of the training and to warm up the group, I teach people how to applaud. It sounds elementary, but I find that people in the corporate world are too restrained when it comes to celebrating. Thus, I give the group permission to “bring the applause.”

About forty minutes into the training session, I noticed the participants begin to look up at the 30-foot ceiling in the room and start to point and show signs of being nervous. Being an observant facilitator, I looked up as well. To my surprise, there was a huge spider on the ceiling. This creature was four-to-five inches in diameter. It was creepy. Needless to say, everyone was a little uncomfortable worrying that this arachnid was going to fall on someone’s head.

After a few minutes of discomfort, the group settled back into the training session while keeping a watchful eye on our eight-legged friend.

About forty-five minutes later, a facilities management team showed up with a wet-dry vacuum and the longest extension hose I have ever seen. Someone had called for help. The plan was to suck the spider off the ceiling. The hose was put together, the vacuum was plugged in, the power activated, and the “hero” lifted up the nozzle. As the “hero” lifted the hose, his sleeve fell slightly revealing his elbow. There on his elbow was a tattoo of a spider web – the perfect person for the job. With a quick whoosh, the spider was gone.

At that moment something amazing happened. The entire audience burst into unrestrained, unashamed, spontaneous applause. I think there were even a few hoots and hollers. Smiles appeared, heads lifted up, and the “heroes” exited the room.

We finished up the training session, and I went about the rest of my day. The next morning, I started work with a pleasant surprise. I received an email from the manager of the facilities management “heroes” who removed the spider. He mentioned how the guys were still talking about the applause they received and how much they appreciated it. This is the power of applause!

Who is your Spiderman or woman today? Who is rescuing you from a project deadline, a challenging customer, a break down, or difficult time? Go give them some unrestrained applause!