One of my favorite times of the month is when I meet with my teammates one-on-one for what has been dubbed "15 minutes with the Pond Guy."

HR tries to get any new employees slotted into these brackets and to round out any open slots with whomever else wants in. The goal of these sessions is for me to get to know the employees a little better (and vice-a-versa) -- while offering my advice on how they can succeed here. Although the sessions always seem to end on a high note, they often begin -- especially with new employees -- with some trepidation. The other day, however, I had anything but the normal interaction with a new employee hired for our construction division.

"Nate" (his real name!) came up to my office and almost immediately took over. He had done his research and knew I liked to get a lot of information on someone's likes and dislikes, past experiences, and in general what it is that makes them tick. I've been known to rapid-fire questions as I go through this process while sizing up the best synergies for us to work together.

Not with Nate, though! He whipped out a prepared sheet of paper with all the relevant and even some non-relevant personal information that was not only articulate but quite creative and even downright funny. I found myself laughing out loud as we went through his list. The 15 minutes flew by way too fast, and the interaction ended with a great first impression of our new construction guy.

Now, I don't know if Nate will ultimately be a star here, but here's what I do know. He sure took an opportunity -- one many others enter with hesitation -- and used his "15 minutes" to leave a lasting first impression. I now find myself asking his boss and even his co-workers on a regular basis, "How's that Nate kid doin'?" I think it's pretty obvious to them that I'm curious for good reasons, and I can only imagine that's going to help him in their minds: "Hey, if the boss is so interested in this new guy, there must be somethin' special about him." And so far, the reports I'm getting back on his impact are fantastic.

The moral of the story? There are probably a few, but as an employer, it's such a breath of fresh air when you get an employee who takes a fairly routine interaction and turns it into so much more. I just felt moved to blog on it. I also felt there may be a few of you out there who have similar stories of people working with you that might serve as an inspiration for others. There are probably more than a few good apples out there just lookin' for their own 15 minutes to shine. Got any stories of your own?