Tuesday, November 3, 2009


At least twice a month I visit my "Branch Office" better known as "Rum Runners" a tiki bar in the Sirata Beach Resort located in St. Pete Beach, Florida. to relax, think, and enjoy the beautiful beach and sunsets. Some months ago the Sirata Resort employed a new staff member whose name is Erica. Erica has a ready smile, an open and cheerful personality, calls her regular customers by name, and consistently provides great customer service. I don't imagine Erica will work for the Sirata forever, but the skills she has been taught and the personality she has cultivated will ensure success in whatever she does in life.
The other day as Erica passed by the table where I was sitting I called her over and said how much I enjoyed the great service she provides. There are other good people who work in that tiki bar but Erica stands out for all the reasons I mentioned. I don't know if customers regularly give Erica compliments, but I think she appreciated my comments and because it is consistently deserved I enjoyed saying how much I appreciate the service.
Customer service providers in the restaurant and hospitality industry in the United States are not well paid, and they rely on tipping for service, or adding a service charge to the cost of food and drink. So the consistent service that Erica gives is a genuine reflection of both her training and attention to customer care and not driven by any expectation, or culture of entitlement, such as I have observed in some countries where tipping is an entrenched practice.
Where am I going with this? Well I'm proposing a revolution! A revolution based on catching and complimenting people for behaving positively. Just imagine the result if every day you caught someone, somewhere, in any situation doing something right and told them so. Then imagine the result if we each recruited five people to the cause and everyone complimented one person a day. And imagine what would happen if those five found five who found five. How that would impact the service culture of your town or city? And perhaps you could forward this article to five people to start the revolution.
We all in some way provide service to others - at home, at work, in our community, so when you catch someone doing something right immediately compliment them, say what you observed, why you are complimenting them, and most importantly how you 'feel' about it. Encourage them to continue to do more of what they are doing so well; or even better gently challenge them to do even better. Emphasize how they and others will benefit. One of our responsibilities in life is to encourage others. To help them set the performance bar higher, to stretch, reach out and realize their full potential.
It's not only important to recognize people for what they do, but also to acknowledge them for who they are. Praise is both powerful and empowering because it raises self esteem, which in turn raises confidence, and so we perform even better. When we feel 'good' our brain releases a chemical called Dopamine, which plays a critical role in the way the central nervous system works, including the brains complex system of motivation and reward. So catching and complimenting people doing something right is a great way to give someone a natural 'high' as well as encourage and reinforce desired attention.
People may over time forget exactly what you said, but they will forever remember exactly how they felt as a result of what you said. We can literally praise people to success. The cosmetics entrepreneur Mary Kay's mantra was: "Praise people to success." I invite you to join the revolution and encourage others
To Your Success,

Lloyd Dobson

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