The Polar Express is one of my favorite Christmas movies. The film scores points with me on two fronts. First, it’s based on a children’s book by Grand Rapids native Chris Van Allsburg. Second, they get an “A” for effort for their early use of computer animation. Some people say the motion capture is creepy but I think they made it work. On top of that, America’s Dad, Tom Hanks voices six characters. That in itself makes it worth watching.
At the beginning of the movie, the Conductor, one of Hanks’ characters, punches two letters in each of the children’s tickets as they’re boarding the Polar Express. These aren’t your average tickets and this is no ordinary train. They’re magic tickets which will take the children to the North Pole on Christmas Eve.
The Conductor punches all the children’s tickets again for the return trip. A down-on-his-luck boy named Billy’s ticket becomes “DEPEND ON”, which changes to “RELY ON” and then “COUNT ON” each time he flips it.
The Conductor says, “That is some special ticket.”
To which Billy replies, “Sure is.”
Dependability is a wonderful character trait to possess. So much so that we made it one of Revel’s core values.
According to Ken Blanchard, the author of The One Minute Manager, dependability is often the #1 quality people look for in the business world. He wrote about some of the ways people show that they’re dependable:
- Do what you say you will do. If you make a commitment, live up to it. These days word gets around quickly. One broken promise to a customer can turn into a public shellacking when a bad Internet review goes viral. The reverse is true as well: When Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos delivered on his promise to get packages to 99.9 percent of customers before Christmas, his feat made headline news.
- Be timely. Showing up on time shows people you care. One of the most touching movies I’ve ever seen is about a dog named Hachi who followed his master to the train every morning at 9 a.m. and returned to greet him every afternoon at five. Even after his master died, Hachi continued to go to the train at nine and wait for his master at five, for nine years. A statue commemorates the original dog at Japan’s Shibuya train station. That’s a legendary example of the powerful relationship between timeliness and dependability.
- Be organized. Creating order — establishing systems and developing project plans — alleviates problems like misplaced files, missed meetings, lost opportunities and overdue bills. It’s far easier to be dependable when you live an organized life. If you don’t have these skills, find someone to set up systems that work for you and to coach you on how to maintain them.
- Be consistent. When I say consistent I’m talking about things like not letting your moods dictate your behavior and not putting people out by changing plans at the last minute. When you speak and behave with consistency, you become someone others can depend upon.
Dependable people not only show up ready to work every day but also produce consistently excellent work. By being dependable you become an essential member of the team. You build strong working relationships. To borrow a phrase from Jon Lovitz, dependability, that’s the ticket.