The Power of Moments

In my post “Building Cultures Through Powerful Moments,” I reflected on Gallup’s research on the power of institutional and interpersonal moments. And we discussed the importance of connection as a leadership skill.

Here, I’d like to delve into one type of moment that can occur either at the institutional or interpersonal level: peak moments.

In their book The Power of Moments, Chip and Dan Heath discuss the lasting impact of peak moments and how we can authentically create more peaks in our professional and personal lives.

This book is full of great anecdotes about businesses, teachers, and regular people making a big difference for their customers, students, and friends through peak moments. But one story stands out for me…

Joshie the Giraffe was a beloved stuffed animal left behind at the hotel after a family vacation. Upon realizing Joshie was missing, the parents reassured their son that Joshie was just on an extended vacation. Fortunately, the hotel staff located the stuffed animal and committed to helping get Joshie home, even agreeing to take a picture of Joshie at the pool to show that he was still “on vacation.” To the family’s surprise, when Joshie made it home, he also brought with him a host of pictures from his adventures at the pool, the spa, on a golf cart, meeting a parrot, and other fun activities from his extended vacation. With this surprising gesture, the hotel turned a moment of good service into an unforgettable moment.

This story resonates with me so strongly because years ago, I had a very similar experience. During the procession of my wedding, my maid of honor walked down the aisle led by my faithful dog, wearing a sign that said, “Here Comes the Bride.” To my dismay, after the wedding, that sign was nowhere to be found. A few months later, my aunt and uncle gave my new husband and me a present: the sign, along with a framed series of pictures from a trip they had taken after our wedding. They found the sign that night, and rather than mail it directly to me, they took it on vacation–taking pictures of the sign at various milestones along the way, including the spot where they were married several years before. It was such a special gift, and certainly stands out to me as a peak moment from that time in my life.

I share these stories of both institutional and interpersonal peak moments to show the power of how organizations and leaders can take an everyday customer or employee experiences (e.g. returning lost property) and do something unexpected to make a big impact. These peak moments leave a lasting impression, and for that reason create loyalty and connection.

When applied to the employee experience, peak moments can happen either at the institutional level, like a well-thought-out onboarding program that begins the moment a new employee walks through the door.

Or at the interpersonal level, like a meaningful interaction with a leader, or a surprise thank you note from a coworker.

Reflecting on your own experiences, what peak moments have influenced you throughout your career?

And where do you have an opportunity today to create institutional or interpersonal peak moments for others in your life or workplace?