“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” Henry Miller
I have done a lot of traveling in my journey through life and I have found that you can learn more about yourself and your business through your traveling experiences than in the comfort of your home base. No matter your destination, you encounter many businesses and services along the way that can show you where your own company’s strengths and weaknesses are and where you need to make improvements. From airports to restaurants and hotels, each interaction has the potential to teach you something you can take back home with you.
I despise going into any public men’s bathroom because the majority of them are filthy and smelly, a combination that does not make me want to use them. I don’t understand why it’s hard for some men to hit the toilet. It’s a big target, but, wow, do we miss it. On a recent business trip, I was desperate so I went into the men’s bathroom in the Charlotte, NC airport. To my amazement, there was an attendant that cleaned the place nearly every time someone used the toilet or the stall. He then went above and beyond by offering a mint and Japanese Cherry Blossom lotion for your hands. Now that’s an element of surprise and service with a purpose.
When it comes to marketing, a lot of companies market the traditional way; brochures, ads, etc. We all see our customers’ potential need for our products; however, our approach to inform them about these amazing products stinks, just like the smelly bathrooms. Our thought process should be more like the attendant at the Charlotte men’s bathroom, where your customers leave feeling good and smelling good. Everyone markets their product, but to be set apart we need to market with a purpose. Be different because people remember different! Your client must receive what they have paid for or been promised, that’s a given. But what about the Japanese Cherry Blossom lotion? Imagine giving every client an element of surprise. What will that do for your profits, retention and, most of all, referrals? Every client, big or small, must get an element of surprise!
Leader, you say?
In a conversation with Vincent, owner of Greenstone Entertainment (and my brother), he stated he doesn’t have bosses in his company, but rather leaders. I have known of this concept for some time, but it became a reality when I traveled to Chapmanville, WV and Concord, NC. We were at these locations to do clinics; however, I think some of the team members forgot what it meant to be a team player. When the patients came through, some of us were ready to take care of them, while others avoided responsibility. This meant some of us were working harder than others and, as a team, that should not happen.
A business team has a unique goal based on the organization’s expectations, and there is no room for slackers. Each team member must carry their share of the load. We all know that perception is reality when it comes to customer service and pawning your load off on others is very much noticed by a customer. I believe the goal should be to empower each team member so they can recognize their leadership qualities and their strengths. If you build on your employees’ strengths and they are valued as leaders, they will buy into your company. This makes retention easy and creates a happy, fun workplace.
I own it!
Each job we have throughout our lives gives us a certain amount of experience that we can build into our own businesses. At a past job, my clients thought I owned the company when I was just their lab coordinator and, later, business developer. Looking back, it’s because I talked like I owned the company and, for more than one reason, I did. I took care of my clients and nurses and whenever a situation did arise, I was there to address it. Their expectations of my service were very high and it was delivered. Even at times when I fell short, I was transparent and consistent. My bosses could not be all places, all the time, so it was up to me to be the face of the company.
A caterpillar can’t envisage an eagle’s perspective. Let your staff know the bigger picture; your vision and dreams for your organization. Because, at the end of the day, it’s them that will have the biggest impact with your clients that will make or break a deal and, possibly, increase or decrease profits.
Keep an open mind while traveling through your life because the world will teach you many things you can apply to your own life or business. It may be an element of surprise, like the Japanese Cherry Blossom lotion, or it could be a learning experience like slacking team members and smelly bathrooms. Maybe you’ll learn that building on your employees’ strengths and encouraging them to have an I own it! attitude will set your company apart from the competition. No matter your experiences, you are always learning something you can bring back to your home base.