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March 1st is St David’s Day, the feast day of Dewi Sant, the patron saint of Wales. Proud as I am to be Welsh, an education based in the Highlands of Scotland has left me unable to speak more than a few words of my native tongue. What I do know however is that ‘Gwnewch y pethau bychan’ or ‘Do the little things’ are considered to be Dewi Sant’s most famous words.

This philosophy for life can be interpreted in many ways. On the rugby pitch for instance it could mean, “Don’t turn your backs on the other team and huddle together for some water and a breather when the opposition have a penalty in front of the posts and haven’t said they are going for goal and the three points.” Sorry….cheap shot……I suspect I’ve now lost every English reader of this blog!

There is however a serious message about communications behind the words “Do the little things.”

For most of my career at Sky News my boss was a man called Nick Pollard, an old school journalist who’d been on the reporting frontline before he made his way into senior management. Nick would send a hand-written card to every single member of staff on their birthday, a small gesture but one that generated enormous value for the company. Everyone who received one of those cards felt that they mattered. Felt they were more to the boss than just another employee, another cog in the wheel. Inside the card wasn’t just a scribbled signature. Nick would write a sentence or two of thanks for whatever that person’s role was within the newsroom, whether they were a lowly paid runner or a high profile presenter. It was just a little thing but the impact was enormous. There was an incredible team spirit back in the day at Sky News and I passionately believe that was the reason why we won so many awards for our news coverage. The tradition sadly ended when Nick left Sky News.

I appreciate that the CEO of a global company with thousands of employees simply doesn’t have the time to send every member of staff a hand-written birthday card. What they can do however is think of the little things, especially at a time when the future of so many jobs is unsure. How long would it take to record a quick video message on a smartphone every week to ask how everyone is faring? Or to keep people updated with company news? The value of that kind of approach is worth a thousand times that of a round-robin email from someone in HR.

Do the little things. They matter.

Happy St David’s Day.