Run Your Own Race

Image Courtesy of Time.com

Last week I wrote  Creative (and other) Problems, a look at the point at which we become paralyzed in our  own work, often unable to move forward due to a lack of inspiration, vision, creativity or whatever other distraction comes up. In many ways it’s like “writers block” for the everyday professional. Over the past several days I couldn’t help but think of a comment on that post by left by Mike Dwyer who said “don’t stress about it and your natural creativity won’t fail you!”

Fast forward one week. In the midst of the high winds and driving rain brought on by Hurricane Irene, I  watched Secretariat, the Disney movie about Kentucky’s Triple Crown winner of the early 1970’s. In the movie the phrase “run your own race” pops up  frequently and is used as a connector throughout the film. At one point Penny Tweedy, the owner of the horse, used it to try to convince her husband and brother that her decision to leverage everything they had on the future of the horse (described here in “drew’s marketing minute); and again, perhaps most dramatically, when she’s talking one-on-one with  Secretariat (the horse) shortly before an important race.  It didn’t take long before I “got it” and when I did it resonated loudly with me.  This is why.

Rules and Distraction
In our professional and personal lives  rules and distractions play prominent roles in defining how we spend our hours.  At times we are forced to address projects directly in front of us, you know,  the everyday tasks and responsibilities that we need to accomplish just to stay afloat.  Then enter the rules which govern our behavior, those set about by home, work, culture, routine, our laziness to…well,  run our own race.

Too often we forget that what got us where we are today is a belief in our own abilities but perhaps more importantly how those abilities can carry us forward. When we’re empowered to follow our “natural instincts,”  then we quickly realize we have enough drive to execute our goals, to embrace own success, and to run our own race.

Beyond Apologies

I just read a story (actually it was read to me) that I thought I’d share. It’s about terrific customer service and  the importance of creating touch points throughout an experience that in most cases can lead to lasting memories.

Friends of ours  just posted a quick story on Facebook about a recent experience they had at an area restaurant.  The evening was particularly special because it was one of her last big meals before preparing for serious back surgery. She jokingly referred to it as “the last supper,” and you’d have to know her to appreciate the humor in her comment.

The evening got off to a slow start when they were delayed forty minutes past their seating but it was a celebratory affair, kind of, and were eventually seated. Instead of simply apologizing the team at the Franklinville Inn went a step further.  In short, and following a brief explanation of the delay, our friend’s message read as follows:

Image Credit: Zazzle.com

A bottle of wine was sent over as an apology and before the end of the night my husband was all giggles. If that weren’t enough, yesterday a $25 gift card showed up in the mail. I guess they liked seeing my husband a little giggly.

Her summary, which she posted to her profile page, not only summed up two really important actions (touch points) on behalf of the restaurant, but it was positive in its delivery and tone. An organization can’t pay for that kind of delivery. (or maybe they can – bottle of wine and $25 worth)

Touch point # 1 –

Instead of simply apologizing, offering a discount off of the bill, or even presenting them with a gift card at the table, the manager sent over a bottle of wine. A nice way to enhance the evening, add value instead of removing value, and creating a memorable experience.

Touch Point #2 –

The restaurant took the time to mail a gift certificate in lieu of handing it to them while they were seated at table or presenting it before they left. This extended their experience and reminded them of the “giggling” long after the laughter subsided. Most importantly has given our friends a reason to go back for a post-op visit.

As soon as I heard this story I wanted to share it.  It’s an example of an organization that “gets” customer service.

Disclaimer: I have not affiliation with the restaurant although I have eaten there and the soup is outstanding.