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Of all the places we spend our time, work is the one that dominates. However, when we look back on our lives, work is often the thing we remember least. Why? Because we remember our lives through peak moments, and there are few of those, especially positive peak moments, at work. Luckily, peak moments can be created and managers can be taught how to create them. This post explores opportunities and techniques to create these moments.

Most managers focus on solving problems, making sure employees and customers aren’t frustrated, but this is table stakes and not memorable. Luckily, managers can do better. They can create peak moments which we’ll remember when we look back on our lives. To do this we have 3 strategies:

  1. Create moments of elevation by planning to create the peak moments
  2. Create moments of insight by stretch your employees so they are challenged.
  3. Create moments of pride by recognizing employees at every opportunities

Elevation: Plan for peak moments

  • There are lots of opportunities for peak moments - find them!
  • Moments need to be personal, not programmatic. Expect resistance, prepare yourself:
    • Constant pressure to do it faster, cheaper, more scalable.
    • Organizations naturally focus on scaling, but that’s not what employees want.
    • You always have limited bandwidth, do not do something easier.
    • Doing a “reasonable moment” kills the magical moments
    • You need to fight the reasonable solutions, and go for the extraordinary.
  • Break the script, get creative to make it memorable:
    • Each birthday is planned by a randomly selected other team mate - give ‘em 100$ and say go.
    • Give a tonne of Zimbabwe money (100 Trillion currency).
    • Run across office in a gorilla solution.
    • Managers makes breakfast for team (include homemade dishes - yummy Indian food)
  • Opportunities for abound: Transitions
    • First day of work - John Deer example
    • South west air lines - on intercom, someone getting married. Hand out napkins for advice to marriage.
    • Promotions
    • First year anniversary
    • First managerial role
    • Retirement (Not just for the person retiring - but everyone else)
  • Pits
    • We can predict them (not when, but they’ll happen)
    • Death of relative
      • Rapid response team, bring casseroles
    • Bad 360 report
      • Negative feedback as way to grow - instead of moping
  • Milestones
    • Tenure based - easy
    • Look at accomplishments (10 folks had them celebrate)
    • Better Policy company wide
    • Birthday:
      • 100$ for each persons birthday for someone else to plan.
      • Spend it for you as needed.
      • Random person celebrates birthday and plans
    • 1000 days of work:
      • Give a tonne of Zimbabwe money.
    • Work anniversary
      • Run across office in a gorilla solution.
    • BREAK THE SCRIPT - NOT A PROGRAM
      • Gorilla run across the

Insights: Deliberate stretching – helping folks do it.

  • See 7 coaching questions
  • Help employees stretch to find insights. If you don’t employees will fail to grow, and that sucks.
  • Don’t just have a ‘here is how to get better”, ask for a “what”. E.g.
    • Own a product release - get a project management mentor
    • Speech at conference - take story telling training.
  • E.g. Pastor give intern chance to do Easter Sunday, huge growth by employee.

Pride: Pay attention to recognition

  • At the core - I saw what you did and appreciated it!
  • Make recognition a part of your culture (employees copy managers)
  • Do it more then you think - managers think they get an 8/10 for recognition, but employees report 4/10.
  • This makes employees feel noticed and valued - it’s catching people doing this right which will reinforce behavior.
  • Free to do, it’s very powerful, and both the givers and receivers feel great.
  • Can’t be a scalable program, needs to personal.
  • But can make it easier on yourself - Have a stack of coffee cards for giving recognition. Write out hand written note to give it publicly.
    • Public is good.
    • Social.
  • Examples:
    • Each leader gives out their own type of recognition.
    • Huge piles of money (Zimbabwe) Get 3 Million Zimbabwe dollars.
    • Client write something nice – print customer comments, and your own comments get it framed and give it to the employee.

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