There was an article in People Management, the CIPD journal, last November about storytelling and the use of stories, or parables as I called them in a recent post, in training. One story concerned a large hotel. A man and a young boy were spending a few days there and the staff had, rightly, surmised that they were father and son.

One evening the man returned to reception after taking his son to his room and told his story. It seemed that the boy was seriously ill and was about to begin a course of chemotherapy. What concerned him most was the fact that he was about to lose his hair. To pre-empt that, he had decided to shave his head that night and his father was going to do the same as a mark of support. The father wanted to ask the staff not to react when he and his son came down for breakfast the next day.

When the man and boy arrived for breakfast the next morning, they were astonished to find that ten of the male staff had also shaved their heads and were going about their duties with shiny pates. That is customer service!

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