A colleague shared a story with me recently that spoke to the benefit of a simple change of mindset. Her young daughter was shy, a little awkward, and really struggled in elementary school. The little girl found it hard to make friends and often came home looking downcast. With all the love in a mother’s heart, she wrapped her daughter up in a warm hug and asked, “What’s wrong honey? Did you have a bad day?” Some version of this same event played out again and again.
Over time, the mother realized that she was feeding into her daughter the practice of labeling a whole day as bad based on a few poor experiences. Determined to shift the perspective, the mother changed the narrative. Every night at dinner she asked each of her children, “What were the lows and highs of your day?” The difficulties didn’t magically disappear, but they learned together to acknowledge the low notes then move on to consider the good. Without even realizing it, not only did dinners end on a better note, but the whole family began to tag the highs, unexpected moments, and joyful experiences throughout the day eager to share them every night.
The mother in this story was on to something that I think we can translate into our industry and take the concept a few steps forward. What if we moved beyond focusing just on what went right or wrong about the day, week, month, or year, and instead noted the unexpected? And from there, what if we moved on to the practice of intentionally creating moments that surprise and delight?
What might our culture become if we engaged every day with the intent to generate joyful experiences? We are hardly first to the concept of ‘surprise & delight’ with respect to our customers. Forbes recently published an article on that subject in which they offer 15 ideas for deepening customer relationships through the unexpected.
My philosophy is Team Member First – Always. I believe that if we pour love, respect, encouragement, and moments of unexpected cheer into our team members, they in turn will deliver on and exceed our brand promises to our customers. Thus, the ‘surprise and delight’ movement starts internally. I encourage you to consider how you might shift your mindset, policies, disciplines, or routines to generate surprisingly engaging moments that influence your team members’ behavior. This TikTok user explains how they include an S&D line item in their budget, and he even gave a shout-out to a personal favorite of mine, Gary Vaynerchuk. While this TikTok video is customer-centric, I love the practice of having Surprise & Delight as a budget line item to benefit team members and customers.
Joy-filled team members create joyful customer experiences. A simple change of mindset that changes everything.
What are your surprise and delight stories? I encourage you to share them below.
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