Not Just Child’s Play
Being a mom for a nine-year-old is the best. Last night, after dinner, we were treated to “family surprise night”. Jeremy turned off all the lights, strategically placed his lantern above his Hot Wheels race track, placed big fluffy pillows track-side, and then, having created tickets, ushered my husband and I to our seats for the “show”. After we did the dishes he then set up all the chairs in the living room, as an intimate game circle, with The Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack soaring in the background, highlighting the competitive tension in the game of Sequence we were playing (although the Kraken got a bit much and we asked him to fast-forward). The evening was so much fun that he’s decided we should have “family surprise night” every week.
Here’s what I loved: Jeremy already gets the power of creating an experience.
Most often when we think of creating an experience we think of our customers, and the reason that’s important to them is because…well…they’re human. Humans love experiences. Experiences are memorable. They’re visceral. They’re unique. They allow you to lose yourself to your senses for however brief a time. Experiences are about feelings.
It’s easy to talk about the power of an experience in corporate America, but feelings not so much. We get very uncomfortable talking about, acknowledging, much less intentionally dealing with feelings at work. You’re supposed to “leave your feelings at the door”. Well I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had any luck with extracting my feelings and setting them aside. They tend to travel with me. And, comfortable with it or not, yours do too.
And that’s true for the people who report to you, who work with you, and who lead you. So why wouldn’t it make sense to consider the experience we create for each other at work?
Now I’m not suggesting you go and light up some incense and candles in your next board meeting, but I am saying that that there is value in thinking about how the people we work with experience their setting, experience our presentations and meetings, and experience the way they feel when they’re around us. Viscerally.
For when we provide a good customer experience, we’re hoping that that will lead to more customer engagement – positive action – that they’ll show up and happily contribute (in their case, cash in growing sums) to our companies. Why is it any different for the people who work within the four walls of our organizations? Isn’t that what we want? Engagement? Positive action? Don’t we want to create a culture where people show up and happily contribute more and more?
For my two cents, I think we should be thinking about feelings more at work, not less. Because feelings run the game. And if you’re in it to win, knowing how to create a good experience isn’t just child’s play.
(By the way, speaking of amazing customer experiences, check out this video I just discovered featuring one of OnStage Leadership’s newest graduates, Nisa Lee. Now this woman gets how to create an experience!)