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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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
When my mother worked at JoAnn Fabrics decades ago, it was purely a store that sold material and the supplies necessary for sewing. Oh, how things have changed.
The new store that just opened is renamed simply “JoAnn” and its slogan is “handmade happiness.” Only half of the store is the inventory of the “old JoAnn” and the remaining square footage is packed with supplies for all kinds of hobbies: knitting, painting, drawing, scrapbooking, embroidery, flower arranging, and cake decorating. JoAnn has gone high tech with 3D and laser printing, plus an area full of machines for classes and demonstrations. The fabric-cutting area has even become the “cut bar” where you can check in on a kiosk and shop while you watch your name in the queue.
For me, a non-crafter, just the selection of threads was overwhelming, let alone imagining the possibilities present throughout the store. But for others, the return to homemade items – thanks in part to Pinterest – has never been greater. People are returning to all things retro and making things is part of that trend.
Kudos to JoAnn for evolving with the times. Other fabric stores have gone out of business throughout the years but JoAnn has adapted while still staying true to its core. What lessons can you take from how they have reimagined their mission and market to embrace “handmade” instead of just sewing?
If I was teaching a human resources class, I would use the movie Ford v. Ferrari as a case study. It’s a fantastic film, about so much more than cars or racing, as it tells the story of the Ford Motor Company’s quest to win the Le Mans car race in the 1960s.
One of the central tension points is deciding who will be the driver of Ford’s car. The project leader, Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) wants Ken Miles (Christian Bale) who is known as both incredibly skilled and equally unorthodox. The Ford executive in charge wants “a Ford Man”, someone else who can portray a more mainstream image for the brand.
I think the movie brings to light the frequent tension in organizations as to what is valued more: innovation or conformity; tradition or experimentation; mavericks or team players. So much of work today involves teamwork and playing nice with others is a necessary trait, so organizations must decide where they draw the line for those who do not fit the standard mold. Do you go with the perceived best driver to win or do you opt for someone more conventional who aligns closely with others? How much independence can you grant without sacrificing the effectiveness of the whole team or project? What is driving your decision: short-term winning or the long-term culture you are creating?
In the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni argues that it only takes one person to negatively impact an entire group. I myself recently wrote that being a member of a team is part of everyone’s job description these days. And yet, the movie highlights the dilemma of defining exactly what that team is – is it the team of driver and leader only, the race team or the entire Ford organization – and weighing how much latitude you give individual brilliance when deciding that answer.
Take a few hours this weekend and just enjoy a great film – then come Monday you can ponder the implications it may have for what drives hiring decisions in your organization.
“The greatest danger in business and life lies not in outright failure but in achieving success without understanding why you were successful in the first place.” Robert Burgelman
This mantra from the former Stanford professor rings true in so many situations. When things go well it’s often easy to forego the evaluation process or to make assumptions about what brought on the largesse, yet without this analysis, it is difficult to truly understand challenges when they occur. Guessing about why things worked out as they did is never a good strategy either.
It’s a wise habit to incorporate evaluation and reflection into your ongoing routine. Conduct After Action Reviews or Lessons Learned meetings. Keep a journal. Hold regular Cave Days or thinking sessions. Add reflection questions to your one-to-ones or staff agendas.
There are many ways to hit the pause button before going blindly forward; just remember to do so when you are experiencing success as well as failure.
Source: As quoted by Jim Collins in Turning the Flywheel, A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great, 2019, p. 5