Book Review: "The Power of Moments" by Chip Heath & Dan Heath

I was listening to a podcast where one of the authors of this book was explaining the concept of "The Power of Moments" and provided some examples that compelled me to buy the book straight away (which is very rare for me). The book is packed with examples and lots of great advice, albeit it is a bit verbose at times. The key concept is that we can be more impactful as leaders and as people by recognising and creating more "moments" / memorable experiences. We can be the designers of moments that deliver elevation, insight, pride and connection. These extraordinary moments are what make lives meaningful.

My key takeaways:
  • Three situations that deserve punctuation: transitions, milestones, and pits. 
    • Transitions include first day of work, weddings and graduations.
    • A milestone may be the length of time an employee has been at the company, getting to a key point in a project or completing a marathon.
    • Examples of pits include:
      • a positive response to a service failure and 
      • designing a fun environment (experience) for a child having an MRI scan and transforming terror into delight.
  • If we recognise how important defining moments are, we can shape them and make them more memorable and meaningful.
    • e.g. your first day at work shouldn't be a set of bureaucratic activities on a checklist. It should be a peak moment with things like a computer being ready for you and setup with required applications, an email from the CEO welcoming you and telling you about the company's mission, lunch and coffees arranged with colleagues etc.
  • A relationship in which one party is oblivious to the most profound moments in the life of the other is no relationship at all.
  • Studies have consistently shown that reliability, dependability, and competence meet customer expectations. To exceed customer expectations and create a memorable experience, you need the behavioural and interpersonal parts of the service. You need the element of pleasant surprise.
  • To elevate a moment (usually elevated moments have 2-3 of these traits):
    1. Boost sensory appeal. e.g. deliver treats on a silver tray.
    2. Raise the stakes. e.g. add a competition or deadline.
    3. Break the script. e.g. do something out of the ordinary.
  • Familiarity and memorability are often at odds.
  • By breaking the script, we can lay down a richer set of memories. We feel most comfortable when things are certain, but we feel most alive when they're not. Scare yourself, regularly.
  • Moments that break the script are critical for organisational change.
  • Great mentors focus on improvement, provide direction and support. 
    • They introduce a productive level of stress. 
    • Wise criticism encourages encourages people to stretch.
  • The promise of stretching is not success, it's learning. c.f the willingness of entrepreneurs to put themselves in a situation where they can fail.
  • "Full appreciation of work done" has been in the top two motivators of employee from studies spanning 46 years.
  • When people make advance mental commitments - if X happens, then I will do Y - they are substantially more likely to act in support of their goals than people who lack those mental plans. e.g. if committed to drink less alcohol, when a waiter what you I for a second drink, I'll ask for sparkling water.
  • You are unlikely to deliver a great customer experience without first delivering a great employee experience.
  • Remote contact is perfectly suitable for day-to-day communication and collaboration. But a big moment needs to be shared in person. c.f. dialling into wedding or graduation.
  • If a group of people develops a bond quickly, chances are its members have been struggling together. People will choose to struggle - not avoid it or resist it - if the right conditions are present. The conditions are:
    • The work means something to them, 
    • they have some autonomy in carrying it out, and
    • it's there choice to participate or not.
  • If you want to be part of a group that bonds like cement, take on a really demanding task that's deeply meaningful. All of you will remember it for the rest of your lives.
  • Organisational leaders should learn to cultivate purpose - to unite people that would otherwise drift in different directions, chasing different passions.
    • A sense of purpose sparks "above and beyond" behaviours.
  • Our relationships are stronger when we perceive that our partners are responsive to us. Responsiveness encompasses:
    1. Understanding
    2. Validation
    3. Caring
  • Gallup's six most revealing employee engagement questions:
    1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
    2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
    3. Do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
    4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for good work? (Validation)
    5. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person? (Caring)
    6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development? (Understanding, Caring)
  • "What matters to you?" is a great question for responsiveness.

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