Maybe in our wildest moments

Review of The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath

I’m the school of thought that businesses are should be experience-led. By this, I mean businesses should be striving to make every interaction a positive experience. Reading The Power of Moments was a bid to help me better understand how I can create more moments that matter, both at home and at work.

Cunning use of milestones

You will have this in every fitness app known to man and within any app employing gamification. Celebrating milestones is a key part of being human; first birthdays, becoming a teenager, passing your driving test, turning 40. The list goes on and on.

Apps take advantage of our addiction to milestones awarding us for personal achievements. Fitbit gives you a 747 badge, TripAdvisor gives you a reviewer level and Nike gives you awards and a new colour scheme. This drives engagement and loyalty. There is no way I will switch to another running app and lose all those made-up awards. The use of milestones isn’t exclusive to apps, we saw this pre-digital with credit card levels and frequent flyer statuses. Setting levels gives us a goal, and we, naturally want to believe we are higher than others.

Exceeding rather than meeting needs

You need 3 things (apparently) to meet the needs of your customer:

  1. Reliability
  2. Dependability
  3. Competence

But you need to deliver more than the basics to delight and create moments. For this, you need “behavioural and interpersonal” parts of the service. This means you have to interact with customers! What a shock right?! If only we had tools available that allowed us to create personalised interactions with all our customers…

The research also delivers some pretty compelling numbers. When you delight, rather than satisfy, people spend a lot more. They are happier, and you make more money, plus your marketing costs will be lower as you will get more referrals.

What is incredible is that the majority of companies focus on finding new customers, rather than investing that time and effort in their existing customers. Marketing budgets shouldn’t be solely for outbound activities, they should also be designed to delight customers and create lasting experiences.

Be unreasonable

Ideas that create moments are rarely the most practical.

This creates challenges for operationally sensible people (like myself).

But, this isn’t about operational efficiency or maximising productivity. It is about creating a moment. This is why we always go back to objectives, what are we really trying to achieve. What will make someone pull out their phone, take a photo, and voluntarily share it with the world?

Break the script

This headline says it all for me. If we are trying to create a special moment it needs to stand out. It needs to break the day to day routine and shatter expectations. It is why people get hung up on proposals and weddings, we get to destroy the script and write our own (even if it may end up like every other Instagram feed).

I think about breaking the script. What would someone expect? Then take a step back and think about what would make them smile.

High standards + assurance

For anyone mentoring, coaching or leading a team this formula is invaluable.

It is hard giving feedback and it is also hard receiving it. But, when executed correctly it allows employees to flourish and reach their full potential.

Setting the bar high, equipping people with the tools and giving them the confidence they can achieve the standard makes all the difference. The example provided in moments is around feedback on high school papers:

  • First note: “I’m giving you these comments so you will have feedback on your paper”
  • Second note: “I am giving you these comments because I have high expectations and I know you can reach them”

When students were asked if they would like to revisit their papers, 40% of the Note 1 students did, versus 80% for Note 2.

Failure is good

The failure is ok message is shared more widely nowadays. I often stumble across LinkedIn “mistake” confessions. This is a good thing and a habit we should all adopt. No-one can make it through life without failure. We just need to take the lessons from the mistake and then grow. Think how many times you feel over and got hurt as a toddler. It never stopped you trying to walk or run full pelt down a hill! Developing new skills is exactly the same.

Mind the gap

Carolyn Wiley of Roosevelt University found in her research that:

“More than 80% of supervisors claim they frequently express appreciation to their subordinates, while less than 20% of the employees report that their supervisors express appreciation more than occasionally”

Praise should be constant, not once a year during appraisals. Genuine, spontaneous feedback is much more appreciated than forced annual appreciation.

Purpose over passion

When we are talking about performance, purpose in a role helps people to perform above their passion for the role. This is because purpose is something people can share, it can create a great team and a community. Rather than a passion with may only be relevant to the individual. The top performers have both, but purpose outweighs passion as a performance criterion.


Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

About Good Words Online

This blog was designed to be a home for all the content I’ve created over the years. It is a mix of book reviews, personal reflections and business learnings. There is no definitive way to live or work, we all make our own choices. I in no way think I am right about any particular subject. This is simply about sharing what I’ve learnt and creating an online reminder for myself.

The name, good words, has no religious references. We can’t be good all the time. Each of us will make mistakes. All we can do is try to learn from them and try and attempt to be a little better next time.

Blog categories

Keep reading
things I want my children to know
Things I want my children to know