Tuesday, April 12, 2011

You Like Me... You Really Like Me!

Okay, so that's not what Sally Field said when she accepted her Oscar in 1985.  Here's what she actually did say:

"...I can't deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!"

Where is this walk down memory lane coming from? Well, I'm still musing on my last post. Particularly, I am reflecting on how I can be doing a better job to make others my focus as opposed to making my needs my focus. My mantra lately is:

"My interest is your best interest."

In other words, in a cheesy kind of way, I want people to say what Sally Field said long ago when they interact with me.  It sounds easy conceptually but it's actually not easy to retrain ourselves to net that result.  And the reason is that it requires a certain belief that you reside in a virtuous karmic circle: whatever you provide to others will ultimately be repaid to you.  And, it also requires that you hone your skills to identify better those people who can live in that circle with you.  Not all people are both givers and takers...  A lot are just takers.

Whatever, dude.

Concepts are pretty...  They're occasionally even amusing or thought provoking over your favorite beverage.  But, they can also be hard to grasp and implement unless we see them in real life...  So, what to do in this case?  I was just thinking that yesterday when, fortuitously, the universe delivered unto me yet ANOTHER tweet but this time from @SouthwestAir:

"Do you prefer honey roasted peanuts or dry roast peanuts when flying Southwest?"

To which I very quickly replied:

"I do enjoy the honey roasted peanuts! thank you for asking!"

At that moment in time, I felt like Southwest was talking to ME and ME only!  They wanted to know if I had a preference which is not often experienced when we travel by plane these days.  I felt special.  I felt wanted.  I felt liked.  I may have even harbored warm fuzzies for Southwest.  I felt like Sally Field.

Um.  Here's where I harbor some human contradiction.

As you know, I wrote this post last month about how I got all excited for in flight wifi courtesy of Southwest that never came to fruition.  I felt disappointed and, well, a hair betrayed even.

Do you know that I totally forgot about that post in my excitement over thinking that they cared about what peanuts I like?  Yes, friends, something as small as a tiny bag of peanuts completely threw out of my mind an actual customer experience issue I had in real time.  And, also, made me forget that tiny crack in the fuselage problem, too!  Something as small as a tweet that asked about ME did all of this.

For a moment.

And then I smiled.  I realized that one small question that had nothing to do with where Southwest flies, free checked bags, quality of service, etc., made me deepen an emotional tie that I already had with them.  That small little tweet about peanuts embodies this:

"My interest is your best interest."

What better practical example exists than a question about peanuts to demonstrate why this mantra is effective?  Perhaps more importantly, this practical example shows that the mantra does not have to be reserved for grand gestures only.  These little details, these surprise and delight moments matter to people.  They feel special, they feel valued and they feel distinctive.  And it's what we should be working towards all the time.

What say you?  Please comment below and share this with others!

Parissa Behnia
Idea Chef


  1. Little things do add up, but in our cluttered, noisy world where people are constantly communicating how crazy it is, people tend to forget so you have to stay committed and in their face with the little things.

  2. The little things are important - but most of us don't do a good job on the big things, and so the moments come in between minutes. I really liked your "a lot are just takers." That's what we all fight each other for, whereas focusing on the givers would probably allow us to create many more of those karmic moments. Thanks!