It was a hot summer day in July, 1977 and I was working at a summer job on Wall Street heading into my senior year at college. I remember sitting on the steps of Federal Hall at the corner of Broad and Wall Street eating lunch when Congressman Ed Koch walked around the corner and stopped in front of Federal Hall. He looked up at all of us sitting on the steps and announced ” Ladies and Gentlemen, my name is Ed Koch and I am running for Mayor of New York City.” Then he asked the infamous question he was known for: “How am I doing?”
That question was Ed Koch’s calling card and it stayed with me throughout my professional life. What a powerful question! Before, Mr. Koch would stand on subway platforms every Friday and no one would stop to talk to him. That is until he uttered that Question: ”How am I doing?’ And people stopped to tell me!” he was quoted as saying.
“How am I doing” is a question we should be asking our employees and customers everyday. We need to find out if we are exceeding expectations and where we are missing the mark. Only then can we fill in the gaps and keep people happy. The problem is we don’t ask this question often and because most people will not take the time to tell you they are unhappy, resentment builds until ultimately they get fed up and move on. They inform you of their dissatisfaction by no longer buying your products/services or quitting your employ. More managers have discovered how they are doing in employee exit interviews than in day-to-day discussions. If you like what you are reading and want to automatically receive our blog via email, click here: Subscribe Via Email.
This morning we lost a great man as Ed Koch passed. He was a three-term mayor who turned New York into a fiscally sound municipality and became a political force to be reckoned with for decades to come. He won three mayoral elections simply by asking the question “How am I doing?”. You want to succeed on a consistent basis, add this question to your daily routine. It will tell you what you have to do to stay on top. It really is that simple.
Thank you Ed Koch for the invaluable life lesson. We will miss you. Rest in peace!