Phil is a lawyer I coached several years ago. He works on big real estate projects.

While we worked together he told me how his gift of a crystal turtle to a client representative made a difference – it’s another example of how little things matter.

By way of background, Phil and a team of lawyers worked on the development of a new corporate headquarters for a large company with a long-term lease to the company.  The job site was at the time the largest construction site in Quebec and the largest leasing transaction in Montreal in the last 30 years.

It received a lot of press since the move to the new headquarters resulted in the relocation of several thousand employees and the consolidation of several locations across the city.

Negotiations were protracted.  Both the tenant and developer wished to keep things quiet for as long as possible and accordingly devised a codename for the project. “Turtle” was selected, largely because the word had nothing to do with the actual project.

While he was working on the project, Phil saw a crystal turtle and thought that it would be an appropriate memento to present to his client representative when the deal closed.

Phil gave the crystal turtle to the client representative and received the following email:

I can not begin to express my gratitude for the wonderful gift you gave me yesterday. It is not only stunning but the theme of the piece is quite appropriate.  It has found a very special place in our home such that it can be admired daily.

Please express my personal thanks to everyone on your team who worked tirelessly on both Phases 1 and 2 of the Turtle project. Without their dedication and resolve this file would never had been completed.

I have always appreciated your frankness, humility and professionalism. I particularly admired your collective composure under the tremendous time constraints imposed upon us.

You are a group of true professionals, with whom I am ever so proud to be associated.
Many thanks once again

I think there are two important points here. First, the gift would have meant nothing, absent the high quality work and service the law firm team exhibited in handling a very complex project with tight time constraints. Second, when you can tie a gift to a project it will be remembered forever. It’s just way more memorable than anything with the law firm’s logo on it.