leadership dot #2724: bow

I have purchased several new cars over the years and all of them include seemingly hours of dread before you actually get the keys to drive away. There is so much negotiation, angst, paperwork, choices, decisions, etc. and it takes forever. By the time I get my car, I am usually just ready to get out of there…

…but this last experience was different. Most of the pre-work was accomplished in advance and when my vehicle was ready, I was escorted to the “delivery area” where my car was waiting with a giant bow like in the commercials. How much fun is that?

In addition, I had a “technology specialist” that sat with me in the car and programmed all the myriad choices to meet my preferences: whether I wanted auto-lock, seat settings, radio stations, which doors unlocked with the remote, etc. etc. By the time I left the lot, it felt like “mine” instead of a generic vehicle.

Think about the ways that you can add some personalization and pizzazz to your purchasing experiences. They took a photo of me-and-the-bow (which they could have/should have posted to social media) – could you do the same? How can you add a tutor to explain some of the nuances that are so easy for someone who does it every day but frustrating for those new to the process? Can you put forms online and handle some of the routine aspects of your transaction before people dedicate their valuable time to do them at your office?

Think of your purchasing process as an experience instead of a transaction and put a beautiful bow on the package.

leadership dot #2723: repackaged

Looking for a unique gift idea for this holiday? How about toilet paper? Seriously!

An environmentally sustainable company, cheekily named Who Gives a Crap, markets toilet paper in “Gift Editions” especially for holiday giving. The paper is made “without trees” in an environmentally-friendly process that uses no inks, dyes or scents – and for the holidays it is wrapped in colorful paper as an incentive to save a forest as part of your gift-giving. Even better than that, the company donates 50% of its profits to help build toilets for the millions of people living without them.

Few would see toilet paper as a viable gift option, but with the way Who Gives a Crap has packaged it, the “Holiday Gift Edition” (48 rolls/$55 shipped) could be a very desirable gift for the environmentally-conscious person on your list.

The Gift Edition could also serve as a model for how to tailor your offering to the audience you are trying to serve. How can you re-package what you provide to incentivize additional purchasing? If they can make toilet paper a viable option, surely you can sprinkle some holiday magic on your services.

leadership dot #2722: you share

“If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share.” – W. Clement Stone

Today is not only a day of gratitude, but it is also a day of sharing. Countless people open their homes to friends and “strays” who join them for the traditional meal. Numerous others spend the day cooking, serving or delivering food for those in need. Others share their talents by playing in parades or athletic events, while some share through donating blood.

It’s one thing to feel gratitude, but another level to actually share it. Whether it’s helping in your kitchen or tending to your neighbor, give of yourself today in an authentic celebration of gratitude for all you have.

Happy Thanksgiving!

leadership dot #2721: seek

Many times, we fail to appreciate people until they are no longer with us. In the moment, we often focus on what annoys us about others without pausing to remember their gifts. We fail to appreciate the good things that colleagues bring to the team and instead highlight their shortcomings. We wish for coworkers to leave, only to realize what they achieved behind the scenes after they are gone. We long for politicians after their term has ended, only appreciating in retrospect that their merits outweighed any disagreements we had with their policies.

In this season of Thanksgiving, seek to find the good in others now, without waiting until you recognize the positive only when you are without it. Even that person who is making you crazy likely has redeeming qualities if you look for them.

leadership dot #2720: friendsgiving

It has been said that friends are the family you choose for yourself – so what better way to combine the traditions of Thanksgiving than by celebrating with all of your families. “Friendsgiving” is an opportunity to do just that by combining good friends with good foods.

Friendsgiving has been widely celebrated since 2007 – long before Ross and Monica added their imprint on this Millennial/Gen Z holiday. You may opt to include reruns of Friends as part of your event, or you can keep things more low-key. No matter how you craft it, taking time before the real holiday madness to share laughs and gratitude with your buddies sounds like a wonderful way to spend a few hours.

Friendsgiving is gaining in popularity – maybe because people need to schedule “time with friends” into their otherwise busy lives. Maybe it’s an antidote to the sometimes uncomfortable holidays with relatives. Or perhaps it’s just a great excuse to get together and enjoy good company and some food.

There is no set date for Friendsgiving so you can pick any date to round up your circle. Real friends – not just the Facebook kind – are worth the effort to gather in person.

leadership dot #2719: irregular

For most people, this is an irregular work week. Many have Thursday and/or Friday off – unless, of course, you’re in retail or travel and then you have Friday and/or Thursday most definitely on. Schools don’t have a full week and many businesses have different hours. In other words, we’re forced out of our routine.

Think of how you can take advantage of this disruption. Can you use the slower pace to dedicate some time to deeper thinking or work on a project you have on the back burner? Maybe the time can become productive by getting out of the office and visiting a customer who also has a slower pace? If you’re expecting increased activity, can you boost morale with an office guessing pool (how many customers will we have by 9am?) or a catered meal in the midst of the chaos?

Your mind may be on the holiday but don’t waste these days leading up to it. Give thanks for the change in routine and the opportunity to think and do differently because of it.

 

leadership dot #2718: alternative

The newest item on the menu at the place known for flame-grilled burgers and the Whopper isn’t meat-based at all. Burger King is capitalizing on the growing trend toward plant-based alternatives with its Impossible Whopper, a meatless alternative that substitutes for the real thing.

The Impossible burger was a conversation topic in one of my classes and, surprisingly, all had tried one by the end of the session. I had a few vegetarians, a “flexitarian” who is trying to cut down on red meat but not cut it out, and a majority were carnivores. We had one who swore he will never again buy it, but most saw the Impossible Whopper as an acceptable alternative taste-wise, especially when loaded with a garden of vegetables between the buns. I tried one myself last weekend and was pleasantly surprised. It’s not the same as a beef patty but may be worth the overall tradeoff.

Plant-based alternatives are gaining in popularity because of the trend toward healthier lifestyles and the consciousness about the environmental impact of red meat. The CO2 emissions required to make an Impossible burger are 3.5 KG; it’s 30.6 for the beef patty. Water use is 106.8L vs. 850.1L and as areas of the country experience drought, this statistic will become more relevant. Plant-based meat has about the same calories as beef-based, but far less cholesterol (0 vs 80mg) and much more protein (19G vs. 2G), giving it another advantage.

The next time you’re out looking for a quick bite, you may want to experiment with plant-based patties. This market is exploding and you’ll want to have an opinion to contribute when the conversation inevitably comes up!

Source: Where’s the Beef? by Adele Peters in Fast Company, October 2019, p. 18