One of my passions in life is the creation of experiences. I hesitate to use the word passion because I think it’s used way too much and poorly, but in this case I am going to use it. There are 2 things I really love about helping companies create experiences. The first is that everything my clients and their teams learn about creating experiences for customers is 100% applicable outside of business. When you learn how to create experiences for a customer you can create experiences for your spouse, children, parents, nieces and nephews, for whomever. The second reason is that we live in a world where a lot of people don’t always have a lot to be happy over. The way I see it is that if I can help a company create customer experiences for their customers, in a way, I am helping people have positive emotions. In this way I am helping to make the world a better place to live...once experience at a time.
There is a lack of great experiences in today’s world. There is a lack of good experiences in today's world. As a society we are too worried about what divides us. We don't seem to see a lot of the things that make us all alike. People fight over base beliefs, politics and other subjects instead of seeing each other as neighbors, friends and families. If more people focused on creating experiences we could make great change in the world.
Because of this, as a company, we have implemented an initiative. We are calling it “An Experience Every Single Day”. I know, it's a cheesy name. The basic premise is that we are going to try to create an experience for someone every day. Some days it may be something big and some days it may be something small but every day each of us are going to attempt to create positive emotion in somebody.
This goes beyond being a good person. Being a good person is the base. It’s expected. Being a good person is something that my parents have expected from me since I was a small boy. Now it’s something I demand from myself and my children. What we are talking about here is going above and beyond. Creating experiences means I exceed others’ expectations. It means going out of my way to do something extra. It is something that I strive to do everyday.
Years ago in a client meeting with some of the company's executives I realized something. I always talk about creating experiences for customers and employees...and it hit me. There are so many more people out there. The people in the meeting have families that need and want experiences as much as I do. We live in a world where there are many people who just don’t have positive emotions very often in their lives. I left that meeting with a new commitment.
All companies want what I call Prolific Creators of Experiences. Prolific Creators of Experience are those naturally talented people. The automatically go out of their way to create experiences for others. With these people, you give the tools they need to delight customers and you get out of their way. Actually that is incorrect. You give them the tools they need and then you follow them with a notebook.
I have literally seen businesses built upon people like this. One thing about these creators of experience is they don’t have a switch they can turn on and off. These are the people that may show up a little late to work because they helped an elderly lady up the stairs of the subway. They are those who everyone on your team loves. They just create experiences...everywhere, anytime, for anyone. While everyone else fights over politics, sports teams and diet advice, these great and amazing people are, one experience at a time, making the world a better place. Each experience may be a grain of sand but these people add buckets and buckets full of sand over time.
After leaving that meeting I decided two things.
- I was going to create an experience for somebody every single day.
- In every interaction I had with clients, spectators at speeches, and participants in workshops I was going to teach and challenge people to create experiences in their places of work but also after (and before) work. To create experiences for their parents, spouse, partner, children, neighbors, etc.
After a full day workshop with grocery story managers I challenged everyone to exceed someone’s expectations that very day. I told them not to look for heaven opening, angels singing moments. Just simple acts of kindness. I even told them that if they couldn’t possibly think of anything else to go buy a hotdog and give it to a dog somewhere. Absolutely any experience would do. I use this a lot in speeches and workshops. This particular workshop was with over 80 people so I figured that if half did something we were talking about 40 experiences. 40 positive emotions in the world that might not have happened. Well 41...I committed to do it too. What I didn’t expect was the email I received a couple of days later.
These store managers have a very rough schedule. It requires them to be away from their family long hours all year and crazy hours in certain seasons. I am going to paraphrase the story a young store manager sent me.
After leaving the workshop I called the store to see what was going on. To my surprise, everything was going great. I remembered your challenge and on a whim I called my wife and told her I was headed home. I am NEVER home at this time of day. My wife was very nervous. Since she isn’t used to me coming home at this time she thought something bad had happened. On the way home I bought some roses and chocolates. My wife met me at the door and I told her and my 6 year old boy to get in the car. We went to a nearby park with ponds and ducks. We walked around, had a snack, ate some cotton candy...it was great.
When we got home it was time for dinner and bedtime. As I was putting my son to bed, he hugged my neck with a hard squeeze and said “Dad, this was my favorite day ever.”
You can’t imagine how it made me feel to get this email. I can’t imagine how this manager and his wife and son felt. He took a little time and created a great experience for his family and ultimately for himself.
You can do it too. You can make a difference in the world. I made the commitment to create an experience every single day. I don’t always get it done but I’m about 85%. Which means 311 lives are bettered every year. That is 310 people who I create an experience for and for myself. Maybe my grain of sand gets lost but it matters to me and those I can touch daily.
Will you do it with me? I challenge you to create 7 experiences in 7 days. Don’t forget your employees and your family. I would love to hear your stories.