#811 Plentiful Returns come from Great Investments

It’s no secret that I believe you should find what’s good and raise a flag over it.  I am exhausted by people who look for what’s wrong like we were giving out a prize for finding it.  I understand disappointment.  I understand unfulfilled expectations.  I understand bad customer service and I have done my share of complaining.  The difference I am speaking about is looking for what’s bad vs. looking for what’s good.

Andrew Carnegie said; “People are developed the same way gold is mined. Several tons of dirt must be moved to get an ounce of gold. But you don’t go into the mine looking for dirt; you go in looking for gold.”

I think bosses, in particular, hesitate to offer too many compliments because they think it will cost them money or promote complacency.  The truth is that it promotes loyalty and inspires people to do more if that boss understands how to communicate well. 

The power of noticing what’s good cannot be underestimated.

 Let me tell you a story.

There is a young kid who works at the Pret a Manger near my office.  His name is Al.  Al is maybe 20 or so.  He has his hat cocked a bit to the side, and his pants down a lot lower than mine.  I tell you this because some people might see the uniform of his age group rather than the heart underneath it but  I saw a kid with a great smile, sincere greeting, and genuine desire to help.  To be fair, all of the employees at that store are good but Al’s effervescence stood out to me.  So I penned a thank you card to AL, threw a $20 Amex gift card in it, and dropped it off next time I went in for breakfast.

When I went back there a week and a half later, Al rushed out from behind the counter to hug me and tell me how much it meant to him to be acknowledged that way.  That was good enough for me but the story continues.  Al’s manager saw the hug and said “Is this the guy?”  Al said “Yeah, that’s Frank.”  I had two coffees and an omelet on the counter; the total price was nine dollars and change.  The manager says, “Nice to meet you Frank, you made Al so happy, your breakfast is on me.”  I shook his hand and thanked him.  It turns out that Pret has a policy that any employee can comp an order if they choose to.  The next time I went in Al smiled and high-fived me.  His coworker said, “Is this the guy?”  Al said, “Yeah that’s my man Frank.”  I had the same order on the counter.  The coworker said, “Your breakfast is on me today.”

The very next day while I was approaching the counter another customer was parallel with me.  She said, “Your hands are full, please go ahead of me.”  I did.  Then I pointed to the woman and told the girl behind the counter; “Put her yogurt and coffee on my tab.”  The counter girl, who recognized me as Al’s friend from the previous days, said “Oh man, you buying her breakfast too?  You’re alright man but put your money away; both orders are on me today.”

 If anyone is keeping score I have now gotten a return on my $20 investment that crushes the S&P, but even more, my compounded return on smiles and good will makes Warren Buffet look like an investment beginner.

My intention was to encourage the positive behavior I saw in a nice young man.  What I got back far exceeded my expectations.   I encourage you to notice what’s good and raise a flag over it.  You won’t be disappointed.

Own your sales gene…