In holidays past, way past, those little green elves from the late, great Marshall Field’s store would run around Chicagoland and perform what were dubbed “random acts of kindness.”

Senior citizens, outside in the cold, would get stick lip balm.

Kids strolling along State Street were handed yummy hot chocolates.

Free ornaments would glitter in hands of passers-by.

Not to mention gifting those huggable Field’s teddy bears and British racing green shopping bags.

Though definitely not yet the season, we remembered these activities recently, after perusing a University of Rochester psych professor’s research findings.  About newlyweds, of all subjects.  The study?  How to show compassion.  The results?  That small selfless acts increase individual (and couple) happiness.

Well, duh … sorta.  What tantalizes us is the professional reciprocity:  In these busy, stressed days, when everyone takes everybody and everything for granted, these randomnesses might just work in our own worlds of communications and branding and design.

It’s all about TLC, you see, and articulating, usually through behaviors (rather than words), that the person(s) are appreciated and respected.  Further, that their needs and concerns are recognized.  Think about the apps …

Project teams, laboring on long and intensive initiatives, usually get honored by an end-of-project dinner.  Why not once a week, when it’s unexpected, hold a “complimentary” (deliberate spelling) lunch? 

Going above and beyond responsibilities deserves a spur-of-the-moment notice … notes to the manager of managers, even a half day off.

How about a broadscale communications, to the department, even division wide, about the great work that’s being done in marketing and design?  Even if it’s in process?

It’s important, the professor underscores, to be open to requests, accept without judging, and go out of the way to simply “be there.”  Sure sound like good principles for succeeding at what we do.