HOW CULTURE GAINED TWO NEW CUSTOMERS

A friend of mine (and talented force in the organizational performance sector), Hema, and I were sitting down to breakfast this week when the entire staff emerged from the kitchen, cake in hand, to sing “Happy Birthday” to a customer. As I turned around, I saw an elderly man, a single birthday balloon hanging above him. I held my breath as tears started to fill my eyes. I focused in to see a small dog sitting next to him, head on his lap, looking cozy and content in her dog bed. He was happy. Hema and I were beside ourselves, somewhere between feeling the heart-bursting human compassion and hoping his pup wasn’t the only one he’d be spending his birthday with.

We learned that for as long as the restaurant had been open, nearly every day of the month the gentleman has a standing Uber pickup at 9:45am to drop him off to have breakfast with his dog and his restaurant family. This did not help our tear flow. As the server described some more of the gentleman’s story and the additional energy and effort he received from the staff, we were moved by the restaurant’s commitment to their customers. As Hema and I are both in the corporate culture and performance space, we were extra inspired by this story and both agreed we would keep coming back to the restaurant, approximately 15 miles from both of our homes and in no way convenient. Regardless of distance, this place became unique and special enough to brave the California freeways and return for a meal. It provided us with an experience we tied not only to the delicious food, but how we felt being there. The experience also had additional effects- gratitude, happiness, (I get to those later) and good old fashioned word-of-mouth marketing.

Hema and I are busy women. We both have our own companies, speaking engagements, families and extracurricular professional projects in the works. Yet, both of us have taken the time to stop and pay homage to our experience at Snooze. It was so sincerely moving that I think I can speak for us both when I say that we felt would be doing a disservice NOT to share the experience (or, in behavior analytic terms, reinforce the employee behavior wherever we could). We felt compelled to share this story because it was just So. Darn. Good.

This was healthy, happy organizational culture at it’s finest. Their website states, “We’re connected by a common desire to be part of something bigger than ourselves. We believe we’re all one, big family… and we strive to be a part of the communities where we live.” They put words on a website, then their behavior followed. Culture is that simple.

Here’s the happiness and gratitude part: On the drive home, I started thinking about our efforts at W3RKWELL.

I cannot think of a more fulfilling, productive endeavor than working with ambitious, diverse and bright individuals that hold my same passion for global improvements to wellbeing through the workplace. In a very real way, our work provides us the opportunity to continue to dedicate our lives to this Work Worth Doing. Possibly ahead of schedule for a young entrepreneur, I often consider the legacy my company will leave for others. I think about how the world will be different if we are globally successful, and about how I can best lead a team that finds a permanent home in our purpose-driven organization.

It is critical that business leaders today model socially conscious, authentic, passionate and relationship-based leadership today, with the mission to create more experiences, big and small, like the story I shared. By working to create environments that produce happy, healthy employees, we not only influence positive results in the short-term, but in the long-term, as we build cultures of kindness, compassion, happiness and social impact in our workplaces and, thus, the communities in which we live.