Putting a Spotlight on Decency
When I talk about decency, when I say decent, what does decent mean? What are you associations with decent?
Being good to people.
Okay, good to people, I like that. Anybody else?
I don't think so.
Okay, so I like how you started out with being good to people 'cause normally what I hear, people hear decent, and they hear, "meh." They hear average, they hear so-so, like there's good and there's bad, and there's decent in the middle somewhere. I'm really glad that you heard good. That's really nice to hear. But decency is something that's way more than average or "meh." I agree with you, I think it is very good. It's defined in fact as kind, obliging or generous." Which I feel is really the heart of customer service. Kind, obliging and generous. Now when we've had a wonderful customer experience or a customer service experience, that's the way we feel. We feel like someone's been kind to us, obliging to us, or generous to us. I was just on this amazing flight on JetBlue, and the f...
light attendant was incredibly kind and generous to me by moving my seat, by giving me new headphones, and by bringing me snacks and treats and engaging with me in simple conversation. Simple conversation blew my mind. I'm now loving JetBlue, but he was decent to me. And decent is an incredible thing. And something I've noticed, back to core values, incredible, outrageous, extreme, in your core values is really difficult for people to uphold and their feelings about what amazing or incredible or extreme is is going to be very, very different. So we want to be aware of those words. And it's very hard to tell people to be incredible. I've had managers say, be incredible tonight. What does that mean? I have no clue what that means, right? Yeah, but it's actually pretty easy to tell people to be decent, and I actually learned this from a restaurateur that I worked for for years, Keith O'Malley. He would always just say, just be decent to people. Just be decent. And it always stuck in my head, and it was a very simple thing to be decent. That actually was very easy to be decent to people. If he had said, be incredible, be amazing, Okay, but be decent, oh, I can be decent to that gentleman walking in with a cane. I can hold the door open for him and offer an arm. I can be decent to that couple celebrating their first week anniversary, and give them a nice table. I can be decent to these people. Now the power of decency, there's a lot of things that come with it, it's pretty cool. It's about humanity. People who are decent are connecting with you as a person. They're connecting with you as a living being, right? Decency is about, in New York City, helping the lady with the baby carriage up the subway stairs, right? Wow, I would hate to be in your shoes, Let me help you, right? It's a spontaneous act and it's other centered. Decency is not about me, hey look what I just did? It's about you, you need help with the baby carriage, let me get you up the stairs. And they're tend to be pretty spontaneous. They're not, I'm going to be decent today, I'm going to be so decent, sounds familiar. But they are somewhat spontaneous and that's the beauty of them. We see it, we act on it, boom, decent. And decency asks for nothing in return. And that's the beauty of this. I held the door for you, is there an expectation that you hold the door for me, no. 'Cause I held the door for you, right? It's all good. This is your ride right now, right? I thought of you and picked your napkin up off the floor. No, it's all good, you don't have to do anything for me. The idea is that it's asking for nothing in return and, in my opinion, decency is really not average at all. So in restaurants, the decent thing to do when somebody leaves their credit card behind is run down the block and find them, right? You could say that's super human, but it's not. It's running down the block, right? And it's really amazing when somebody comes up to you and they're like, I think you left this, right? Somebody finds your cell phone in the back of an Uber. Oh my gosh and you get your cell hone back. Oh my gosh, that's amazing. You leave something behind in an airplane and they call you and they say, oh I found your book or your iPad or whatever it was. These are amazing things that happen because someone was decent, someone showed humanity, someone was thinking of you spontaneously. Hey, I can do that. Decency is a wonderful thing. Do you all have experiences of someone being decent to you? Or you showing decency to someone else? Having a moment of that?
Can't think of one right now, but I just love the simplicity of it.
That its not average, but it's simple.
And that if everyone was, just decent.
Like how amazing the world would be.
Right, right, well when you put on those glasses of decency, it's really amazing what you see 'cause A, you're going to see it a lot. You're going to see it happen all the time, right? Even if it's you slow your car down so people can walk across the street, you know? It's like, there are little moments of it all the time, and when you tune into it, it's very heartwarming. You're like, oh wow, the world's a wonderful place. And when you contribute to it, it's especially like, oh, that was cool, you know, like, my good deed for the day. I have a colleague who's a friend, and she's also a consultant, similar to me, and she trains, she had a school for awhile, training people with no prior experience in the restaurant business, young people, right out of high school, who were trying to get training so they could get jobs in hospitality. And she was training them in hospitality and she said that hospitality doesn't happen just at work. Hospitality happens all the time. And their homework was to think how you can be hospitable when you're not in the classroom. And so, she was like, how can you do that as your walking around? And so, of course, they start with opening doors for people, but then it was really, how can you do that? How can you think of others? How can you be considerate? How can you notice and care, just strangers on a train? Strangers on the street? Somebody in front of you? You know, someone drops something on the ground, you pick it up, or do you walk by it? There's all these little moments and opportunities that are given to you, so it's up to you to grab them. And that's what's wonderful.
The thing I think of with decency is that it's more of a trait than an action. There are certain people that just automatically are like that, they're always helping people. They don't even think about it. They just do it. And then there ar other people that you might refer to as indecent in this context where it's just because they're so self-centered that they really don't think about anybody else.
Right, now I agree with that to a point. But then I think, similarly to my friend who teaches it, I think you can teach this as well. And it's about building awareness, so back to self-awareness, so what are the opportunities you're dropping by 'cause we see stuff all the time. That thing, somebody drops something on the ground, you know, I passed, I was behind this woman walking through a park in the city, and all of a sudden, something fell and it was just a little piece of plastic. Well, I picked it up, it was her work ID. So I picked it up and I went up after her, and I was like, oh you dropped this. And first she was like, who are you, right, lady? So I was like, no, I think you dropped this. And she was like, oh, oh my God, like wow. I just saved her a lot of headache having to replace that or stop the old one, or who knows what, even just getting back to her office? 'Cause I'm sure it gets her in. But it's just little things like that. And there's opportunities all around you. But again, as an owner-operator, the person who's creating this culture, you're the one who has to ask for that from you team members. You have to give them examples, and talk about things like this so they can see it, they can see the opportunity. And they can seize the opportunity. 'Cause some people just are not used to it. Not everybody's raised the same way, but we have to build a language of common sense, really, with our team members
[Audience Participant] Has to be developed
Yes. Exactly right. Yeah, we can train all this stuff, and these are habits you can build, so if you think, oh, I'm not like that or I'm no good at that, hmm, you can work on that. I think you can work on it. You can always give it the old college try, as we like to say. Always do the right thing. It will surprise ad delight people. So true, Mark Twain, thank you for that quote. And thank you for joining me, today. Any other questions?
Where can people keep in touch with you after this class?
I'd be delighted to. I'm on Instagram at KateEdwardsNYC. I'm on Twitter at ServiceDefined. And you can find me at my website at KateEdwardsConsulting.com