What kind of company do you want to work for?
The one that’s at the top of the leaderboard or the one that’s simply average?
The one that constantly beats the competition or the one that continues to be beaten?
The one people can’t imagine their lives without or the one people could easily trade for another?
I think we’d all say we want to work for the winning team. Because isn’t there a pride—a confidence—that comes with being number one?
Well, here’s the thing: Winning teams are made by winning teammates. Individuals who have made up their minds to do whatever is in their control to ensure their whole team—their whole organization—performs at number one. Top companies don’t drift into the top spot by accident. Instead, they do it by intention—the choice of the collective company, but more than that, the choice of each individual working there to help them win.
So, that means, no matter where you work, or how much power you feel you have there, or what the rest of your company is doing, you can choose to be a winning teammate. You can make the choices that best serve your customers no matter what. You can make a difference—an impact—because it’s part of who you are. It’s the kind of person you want to be.
I like to think about it like surfing. (Just trust me on this one!)
Fun fact: I love to surf! There’s just something about being out in the ocean and letting a wave take you for a ride. It’s such a thrill for me! But as even the most recreational of surfers (like myself!) knows, the conditions you’re working with make a big difference in your ability to get up, stay up, and keep going.
Years ago, John and I saved up to go surfing in Maui. That day, the conditions were incredible. The wind was just right, the waves were gentle, and the water temperature was incredible. It was as if everything aligned to create the picture-perfect conditions for surfing. When we hit the water, we did so with confidence. We rode the waves with ease, as if the ocean was working with us to create the flow and fun we were craving.
Twelve years prior, I went surfing with some friends in Portland. There, the day was overcast, and the wind was cold. We bundled head to toe in wetsuits in a futile attempt to stay warm. The waves were massive, hitting the shore with an intensity that almost scared me. The crashing and thrashing of the water became so loud we literally had to shout at one another just to communicate. That day, it took all my strength just to paddle. My east coast arms weren’t made to cut through those west coast waves. Eventually, I had to grab on to a fellow surfer’s leash for a tow just to attempt to catch a wave. It was hard, exhausting, and at times, seemingly impossible to keep going. The conditions were certainly strenuous!
Of course, I didn’t have any control over the elements in either circumstance. The only thing I could control was me—the way I showed up to the waves. I could choose to surf only when the conditions were perfect, opting to take my board and go home when they weren’t. Or, I could choose to keep paddling, keep going, and keep showing up.
Maybe at work, you feel like you’re in Maui right now. The sun is shining, your organization is pushing you forward, and everyone is encouraging you to keep going. You work in a great culture where making an impact isn’t just encouraged, it’s valued. Maybe you even sit in a position in your organization where you get to make the decisions that impact the culture, the systems, and the overall experiences people have with your brand. You’ve got the power or the permission to guide and direct the way people experience your company. For you, defining what it means to make an impact and encouraging the people you work with to do it is a daily part of your job—like riding an easy wave on a perfect day!
But others of you may feel like you’re still paddling in Portland. You’re working against the elements on a frigid day just to get out on the water. While you love your job, lately it feels like you’re showing up worn out and weary. You have a lot on your plate, the work is difficult, and it feels like you’re paddling against the current just to keep customers happy. You’ve got crashing wave after crashing wave challenging you every step of the way right now. So while you’d love to make an impact in any space you’re in, you know you’re doing your best just to get out on the water some days.
Believe me, I get it. In my time in the workforce so far, I’ve been in both places. Some seasons are like riding easy waves in Maui and others are like hitting the water on a bad day in Portland.
But can I let you in on a secret? No matter what, I’ve always had a choice.
I can show up and keep paddling. I can keep working to make an impact no matter what conditions I’m in. Or I can take my board, give up, and go home.
You, my friend, have the same choice.
The reality is, we all have a powerful opportunity to craft the experience for people on the other end of our brands. We have the chance to make much of the organizations we work for simply by the way we show up. We have the power to take pride and part in creating an exceptional customer experience and culture in the places we work. The one thing we all have the freedom to choose is how we show up. You get to choose how the person in front of you experiences you. And what you choose has the power and potential to impact people around you in ways you may never fully realize.
Whether you’re deciding on the budgets, systems, or values of your organization or powerfully living your personal ones out on the front lines, my hope is that this book will inspire you to identify new ways to create value and exceptional encounters with your customers. That it will help you understand how to create the moments that matter and realize why they matter for your brand, your customer, and yourself!
To read more, grab your copy of The Power of Customer Experience here