Phycologists say that humans rarely take on new behaviors past the age of 16 unless they experience a significant emotional event.
Traditional training in a classroom, didactical lectures, or even e-training does not provide learners with a high enough emotional impact; leading the knowledge learnt through training that comes and goes like the tide of the ocean.
One of my favorite sayings I use ALL the time during my training sessions is “I know Monday will come” meaning we will go back to routine, step onto our preverbal hamster wheel and not change a thing. We keep doing what we’ve always done; leaning into what our parents, teachers, leaders and other role models in our youth have taught us to do. However I have figured out that there is a way to awaken our senses and provide experiential training that has an emotional impact!
If you want your team to action what they are learning then flip your training right side up and have them experience what it is they are supposed to be learning or delivering.
Connecting the dots
I had finished a keynote on ‘How to Deliver a Five Start Experience’ at a spa and esthetics conference where I chose to capitalize on the fact that my entire team was in one room! We are a remote company which makes meaningful training extremely difficult. With excitement, I decide to ‘carpe memento’ and I rounded them up when the room had emptied and said to them “if you’re going to train on how to deliver a five star experience you need to experience what five star is!” and off we went to visit one of them most iconic hotels known for its five-star experience; Ritz Carlton. As a bonus, I had a client present, so I brought them along for the experience!!
We ate at the restaurant within the Ritz and as the meal and service progressed I would ask the team what they saw, felt, and observed. It was magical to see my team and client connect the dots of theory into practice. We focused on all the details it truly takes to deliver an experience that is thoughtful, seamless, and memorable. I watched their eyes light up every time they knew they noticed a little detail that made a BIG difference!
One particular moment comes to mind from that night. Everyone who knows me knows that I love a glass of rose at the end of a long day. Naturally I proceeded to shift through the wine list for a dry rose. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a rose by the glass on the menu. Our server that night didn’t miss a beat. In true Ritz Carlton fashion when I asked if they had a dry rose by the glass she said absolutely and proceeded to tell me the options. I asked her to try a certain one and she said of course. Here’s the thing- she could’ve stopped there and just given me the option I requested. Instead she listened to the description of what I was looking for and when she returned to give me the taste of rose had requested she also brought a bottle of Whispering Angel (my fav!!!). With excitement and passion, she presented the bottle of Whispering Angel and said “I went looking to see if we had anything else I could offer you that would suit your palate and I found a bottle of Whispering Angel! It is dry and crisp and really fits with what you were looking for, would you like a glass of this?” and of course I said yes!
My team and client were watching the whole interaction, and once the server left they got so excited for me! They pointed out everything she did and in that moment, saw the difference in experience that a five-star experience provides. Turning everything they have ever learnt into reality. But what was even more impactful was the emotion of excitement they felt while they observed and listened.
Not only did they experience the difference, they described the difference. They walked away with stories to tell which sparked an emotional event and in turn has them living and teaching the theory they’ve been taught.
I do this during my workshops and trainings as well! I was recently with a group for a two-day workshop. Day one was focused on the theory behind cultivating a five-star experience and day two was focused on experiencing and building a five-star experience. I had part of the team shop their locations and the other shopped competitors. This really opened up their minds and helped them to see the ‘theory’ in action. The result was amazing! The team was engaged, energized, and excited to make their experience the best in the retail industry!
I am not the only one doing this, however there are a select few that do. Surprise, Ritz Carlton is in that prestigious group. How can they expect their teams at all levels around the world deliver a world class experience if they don’t know what it is? Each employee has the opportunity to stay one weekend at a Ritz Carlton with their family so they can feel what it’s like to experience “Ladies and Gentlemen Serving Ladies and Gentlemen”. Pure brilliance!
Look outside your industry
Send your teams to restaurants, hotels, spas, coffee shops, retail shops, and really any company that provides an experience that you feel you want to provide. During their experience ask the them to document the following areas:
• The company
• Detailed description of the experience
• What they did that blew them away
• How they felt, and
• What best practice can be actioned with your organization
Empowering your team members to experience what you preach and giving them the opportunity to be part of designing the ever evolving experience your company provides will have them feeling invested. But most importantly they will feel an emotional shift; which is the only way to get them to do differently.
There are so many ways to deliver experiential training, but if you’re not doing it then you’re missing out. Because Monday will come and your team will not experience that emotional event which connects the dots between your expectation and their delivery. They will continue to do as they always do.