Club Insider

Attaboy!

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Derek BartonDerek Barton

Remember the compliment, "attaboy?" Remember when you got an "attaboy" and how good you felt, especially when it came from your father or your first boss? They even made a silent comedy film back in 1926 called, "Atta Boy." I don't remember that either.

In case you are visiting planet Earth and just picked up a copy of Club Insider (a wise choice), you may not know the term, "attaboy." The Merriam-Webster Dictionary says the term is condensed from the phrase, "That's the boy," used to express encouragement, approval, or admiration. Its first known use was in 1909. I have a feeling it may have started in the Garden of Eden when Eve said to Adam, "I'm a lot smarter than you!" Adam, looking at the apple in Eve's hand, was eager to reply, but he chose to stay silent whereupon God whispered in his ear, "attaboy."

I don't know if anyone is still using the phrase, "attaboy," today, but I sure saw new versions of it during the World Series between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros. If you watched all seven of those great baseball games, you saw a ton of "attaboys." I couldn't wait for someone to hit a home run, especially on the Nats team because they perfected the "attaboy" into an exciting celebration of some amazing choreography. No audible "attaboys," just some inspiring hand, arm, fist and chest bumping, with hugs and then the home run guy plopping down onto the dugout bench next to his teammate as they performed some crazy antics like driving wildly in a car. Every teammate got into the act making sure their hero who had hit the home run knew how much they appreciated him.

Hitting a home run is one of the greatest thrills in sports. At that moment, you know you have contributed something awesome to your team. And, when you round third heading for home, your teammates are waiting to let you know it. That's the bonus! The feeling of unbridled appreciation from your teammates and coaches is a rush that sustains you for a long time!

After watching this World Series, I couldn't help but think about the workplace, the companies where people work, the teammates they work with, the 40- to 60-hour work week where people bust their ass to move their company forward trying to hit their own home run. Many people do hit it out of the park at work, but do you ever see them getting up from their desks excited and doing a victory lap around the office while their co-workers give them high-fives and "attaboys?" They'd probably get sent to HR, right? During my time at Gold's Corporate in the '80s and '90s, when our small but mighty team was building that brand, there were a few of us who would champion each other daily. Those colleagues have become some of my closest friends today.

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