Transform Your Brain

Our bodies are our gardens, to which our wills are gardeners. – Shakespeare’s Othello, I.iii.

Ninety-eight percent of everything scientists know about the brain has been discovered since 1996. So even though I have 5 degrees in neurobiology, teaching, physiology and management, I had to do some extensive research to be able to give you the latest findings that will help you reach your goals. There are so many books, blogs and so-called experts / gurus / consultants out there who think they have a quick solution to being successful in business. I am here to tell you they are short changing you.

You can Be Amazing Every Day, but it takes time, discipline, energy and lots of motivation. I love showing people how this works for them as individuals, as teams and as a business. Once you understand exactly how the brain works, you will be able to condition it to focus on reaching your dreams.

The latest findings show that by regularly writing your goals down, visualising your intended result, and passionately saying affirmations you actually physically change your brain’s neurons and hard-wire your subconscious mind to focus like a guided missile on reaching your dreams and goals.

The human brain has 100 billion neurons, each neuron connected to 10 thousand other neurones. Sitting on your shoulders is the most complicated object in the known universe.
Michio Kaku

I love the fact that modern science has finally proven what successful athletes and entrepreneurs have known all along. That there are ways we can change ourselves to become the type of person capable of achieving our dreams, This means that no matter how bleak you past has been, you can make a choice to have an unbelievably successful future because if we can change the wiring in our brain, the past does not have to equal the future. Beliefs are developed in the subconscious mind. If you don’t believe you can succeed, you need to change those beliefs by programming your subconscious mind.

In the last 10 years, a new field of neuroscience has mapped the mental zone that can literally change the brain to quiet an overly active stress response system and simultaneously pave the way for higher brain networks to perform at optimum. The more we function from this mental zone, the less we stress, and the more our brain lights up with the mix of intelligence that predicts a successful life.The newest brain research shows that passionately repeating the same statements over and over forms new neural pathways that can eventually fire as belief, and when this belief fires, it triggers you to take the actions that will help you reach your dreams. This is why your self talk and who you associate with are so crucial to your success. What you say to yourself and who you hang around with will determine what kind of neural pathways you are developing.

At the base of the brain, where it connects with the spinal cord is a region called the Reticular Activation System (RAS). The RAS acts like a filter that decides which thoughts to focus on at any one time. We need this filter system because every second, there are about 8 million bits of information (subconsciously) flowing through our brain.The RAS decides which messages will arrive at the brain. Once a message gets past the RAS filter and enters the cerebrum, it can turn into conscious thoughts, emotions, or both. Even though the cerebrum is the centre of thought, it will not respond to a message unless the RAS allows it.

The RAS is like Google – there are millions of websites out there, but you filter out the ones you are not interested in simply by typing a keyword.You can think of the RAS as the brain’s gatekeeper to conscious thought. It’s critical to your future that you learn how to get messages past the gatekeeper. So what causes some of the messages to get through the RAS and others to get blocked out? Whatever is important to you at the time and whatever you are currently focusing on gets through.

From the growth of the Internet through to the mapping of the human genome and our understanding of the human brain, the more we understand, the more there seems to be for us to exploreMartin Rees

If your focus is on breaking a personal best, your RAS will automatically filter in thoughts that will help you get to that plsce– people who might help you, opportunities to make it happen, or resources that you might need. What that means is that the more you keep your goals top of mind, the more your subconscious mind will work to reach them. That’s why writing your goals down every day, visualising your intended outcome, and regularly saying affirmations is so important! Because doing those things help you focus your subconscious mind on what’s important to you.

When these higher networks wire and fire together, at the brain speed of a hundred million computer instructions per second, we not only succeed, we excel at every level of life: from career to family, from physical and emotional well-being to fully actualising our talent and ability. It’s a brain generating the fluid and creative intelligence to achieve goals, along with the emotional and social intelligence to instil joy in our work, peace in our life, and harmony in our relationships. It’s also a brain generating the homeostasis that promotes health and longevity. The key to all of these positive outcomes is building the mindset that transcends stress. The solution lies in the power of our mental state to rewire our brains. Change your mindset in specific ways and you can literally change brain structure to extinguish stress reactions and amplify higher brain function. The technical term for this change is neuroplasticity. Here’s a list of 10 positive changes neuroplasticity can produce:

  1. The usual networks that generate the brain’s executive functions grow larger and become more fully integrated with other neural networks.
  2. This means you increased your skillfulness at planning, decision making, error correction, and troubleshooting.
  3. You build strong cognitive abilities and can think abstractly.
  4. Gamma wave activity is far better organised and coordinated, signaling the higher mental activity and heightened awareness found in peak performers.
  5. The right brain and the prefrontal cortex work together to elevate intuition and creative insight into practical innovation.
  6. Activity in the left prefrontal cortex, the seat of positive emotion, swamps activity in the right prefrontal cortex, the seat of negative emotion.
  7. This condition enables you to achieve a high level of emotional intelligence.
  8. There is greater activity in the centre of the brain, especially the caudate and right insula, generating the social intelligence that sustains interpersonal resonance.
  9. Your physiology functions at optimum, securing a high level of health and energy.
  • Who in their right mind wouldn’t want a change like that?
  • Who in corporate leadership wouldn’t want a work force operating at that level of brain function?

The point is, if an individual or company is not actualising the mindset that transcends stress to empower higher brain function, they are not maximising their full extent of fluid, creative, emotional, and social intelligence.

The human brain had a vast memory storage. It made us curious and very creative. Those were the characteristics that gave us an advantage – curiosity, creativity and memory. And that brain did something very special. It invented an idea called ‘the future.’ David Suzuki

Achieving the shift in mindset is easier than you might imagine, adding little to your to-do list. It’s essentially about practicing a to-be list. Even better is the fact that change in brain structure happens quickly, within four to eight weeks.

More and more, CEOs and HR executives are contracting with experts on neuroplasticity to heighten the brain power in their company. Neuroplasticity will soon become the new competitive edge.

Use the genius of others to stand on the shoulders of giants. Never stop learning and be willing to teach others. Be Amazing Every Day

Smile or Frown: WOW! Customer Service


It takes 50 muscles to make a frown — but only 13 to produce a smile. No it doesn’t, not really. Like much of the advice about excellent ‘customer service’ there is a lot of misinformation out there. Customer service (let alone excellent) is a very diverse and broad term that covers a multitude of industries and businesses. Most of the collected wisdom is questionable, non-scientific or generic. I like to compare it to myth you have probably heard about smiling and frown. You may have heard this version of the tale,

Scientists have told us that it takes 41 muscles to frown and 17 to smile this leads to two conclusions:

  1. Scientists have WAY too much free time on their hands!
  2. Frowning uses more muscles, and therefore burns more calories.

The numbers of muscles may vary ( I have seen 13, 17, 36, 41, 47, 50 and 60) yet the story has been around for years. Actually most Professors of Anatomy I have talked too say we use approximately the same number of muscles to do both and probably (depending on the effort put into to both) the same amount of energy. But, it is very difficult to actually tell as there is no real definition of what is a smile and what is a frown. The maxim has been handed from generation to generation because of its enduring value as implied advice rather than its being an authoritative tally of a parts list. More simply, the story persists because of what it says about people, not their anatomy, so to get lost in the metrics would be at the expense of losing sight of its far more important component.

Well if that was a partial myth, we surely know that customer service is a highly important part of every small business? Right? Well it amazes me how many companies get it wrong day after day. Companies that are unable or unwilling to properly service their customers stand to lose the customers’ business.However, several key variables or characteristics set excellent customer service apart from mediocre customer service. A company that best demonstrates these excellent customer service characteristics will have a distinct advantage over its competition.

In survey after survey the British public, and even staff in these organisations, tell us too often that service in this country is still poor, attitudes are wrong, complaints are not handled well and the service provided is not keeping up with increasing customer demands. Regardless of the type of contact that you have with customers, whether it is over the phone, face-to-face, in a restaurant or shop, in an office or financial institution, in the entertainment or tourist industries, good customer service skills help everybody.

There are certain customer service skills that every employee has to master if they are forward-facing with customers. A happy, satisfied customer is likely to return and/or tell others about the good experiences (think social media x 1000) that they had when dealing with your company – word of mouth recommendations from friends and colleagues are very valuable.

Luckily, there are a few universal skills that every member of staff can master that willdrastically improve their interactions with customers. You can start reading or listening to the Pursuit of WOW ( fantastic book (although ageing gracefully) by that Master of Service, Tom Peters). So when your staff (or you) interact with the customers on a daily basis they can become heroes of service.

We could steal time, just for one day
We can be Heroes, for ever and ever
What d’you say? – David Bowie

So here are my top 6 tips for Excellent Customer Service and creating your WOW!

1. The Good Old Fashioned Genuine Smile

  • This is the most simple and often the most powerful tip for customer service and most other interpersonal interactions.
  • Smiles are contagious – usually when you smile at somebody they’ll smile back at you. Whether the myth of it being physically less exhausting to smile than to glower, it is certainly beneficial, and thus there is something to this ancient exhortation to put aside negative emotions long enough to turn a frown upside down.
  • In a 2002 study performed in Sweden, [Goleman, Daniel. “A Feel-Good Theory: A Smile Affects Mood.”The New York Times. 18 July 1989 (p. C1).] researchers confirmed what our grandmothers already knew: that people respond in kind to the facial expressions they encounter. Test subjects were shown photos of faces — some smiling and some frowning — and required to respond with their own smiles, frowns, and non-expressions as directed by those conducting the experiment. Researchers noted that while people had an easy time frowning at what appeared to be frowning at them and smiling in reply to the photographed smiles, those being tested encountered difficulties when prompted to respond in an opposite manner to the expressions displayed in the images — they instinctively wanted to reflect what they’d been exposed to, answering smile for smile and frown for frown, and could not easily overcome this urge even when they were quite consciously trying to.
  • Because we humans are wired to instinctively respond like for like, facial expressions are contagious. When taken, the homily’s implied advice to put on a happy face does work to benefit society in that smiling people cause those around them to smile.
  • Do not pretend to smile, or produce a false smile since these are easy to spot and send the wrong messages. Instead relax, gain eye-contact and smile naturally. This will help the customer or client to feel at ease and welcomed, and you’ll come across as friendly and approachable, setting the scene for a more positive interaction.
  • If you are talking to somebody on the telephone then you can still smile – your voice sounds different when you smile and are happy. Clients and customers are more likely to want to talk to a cheerful person with an enthusiastic personality and by smiling while you talk you can help to project this.
  • Smiling makes us feel happier. It is not a cure-all for every situation, that is, don’t look to it to remedy overwhelming grief, but in terms of getting us past a small dose of the blues, it can help to lift the sense of sadness being experienced. It makes a differences to customers and to staff.

2. Have Patience but Don’t Make Your Customers Wait

  • Patience is a virtue, but don’t depend on it when interacting with customers. In one survey conducted, 69% of those interviewed defined good customer service as receiving a quick resolution to a reported problem.
  • 72% of respondents blamed their frustrations on having to address an issue to multiple employees at different times. If you’ve ever had a similar experience, then you know how aggravating it can be to call back or be transferred only to re-explain your problem over again (and again), while seemingly never actually getting any closer to a solution.
  • Customer service representatives who have neither the authority nor the ability to resolve problems on their own, and are thus forced to take those problems to higher levels, run the risk of alienating customers. Unfortunately, this is a common problem. In fact, 26% of consumers have experienced being transferred from agent to agent without any resolution.
  • This makes me sad (see also my article on Customer Service) so I have on my wall Tom Peter’s 163 Ways to Pursue Excellence:

3. Build Trust and They Will Come Back (Time after Time)

  • Only ever offer a customer or client something that you are sure you can give them – delivery of small things matter.
  • It is better not to mention a delivery date and then deliver tomorrow than it is to say you’ll deliver tomorrow and then don’t.
  • It is better to tell your hotel guests that the fire alarm system is being tested in the morning than let them find out for themselves.
  • Stick to deadlines, make sure you turn up promptly for any appointments and never make promises you cannot keep. If situations change then let the customer know as soon as possible.
  • If your company is answering a phone by the first ring, is straight forward with all pertinent buying information, and is giving customers a personalized experience when they need it, then congratulations, you are building much-needed trust.
  • Your product or service will attract them initially, maybe even bring them back a second time, but what consistently entices customers to return is trust that they’re going to have a good, barrier-less customer experience.
  • If you can provide the customers what they’re looking for, when they need and expect it, then that trust built between your company and the customer will evolve into invaluable customer loyalty.

4. The Emotional Signature: Be Memorable For the Right Reasons

  • We tend to remember positive and negative experiences more vividly than average day-to-day ones. Try to make every customer’s experience a positive one that they’ll remember and talk to others about.
  • Be helpful, be courteous and polite – give a little extra if possible, even if it is just some advice or extra information about the product or service they are buying or interested in buying.
  • If appropriate, and you need to be careful here, try telling a joke or introducing an element of humour; if successful you will add to the positive experience of the customer.

5. Clear Communication Skills Require Excellent Listening

  • You are unlikely to be able to help all your customers effectively if you don’t listen to their needsExcellent customer service requires effective listening and communication skills.
  • A company’s customer service representatives should listen carefully to what the customer needs. The answer or solution to the problem or question should accurately address the nature of the call or question. excellent communication skills are crucial.
  • A customer should be able to easily understand what the customer service representative is saying.
  • The representative must speak distinctly, and use common terminology that everyone understands, not highly technical language.
  • Excellent customer service means acknowledging a customer’s question in a timely manner.
  • Excellent customer service means having more experienced people or supervisors available to answer more difficult or technical questions
  • For customers not listening can become very frustrating and may lose a sale or repeat visit.
  • Listen to the customer’s needs, empathise and find the
  • Work on the ability to use Positive Language.

6. Learn Your Business – Know Your Product – Be The Expert

  • One of the most important elements for achieving excellent customer service is training. Customer service employees must be trained on product features, prices, warranties and even the various technical aspects of products.
  • If you are selling cars then learn the features and specifications of the models you have (and those of your competitors).
  • If you work in a hotel learn about the business, how many rooms there are, the history of the building, when breakfast is served.
  • If you work in a bank then learn the advantages and disadvantages of the various products you sell and which product suits which type of customer the best.
  • Make sure that you know more about your business than the customer does, be able to answer questions about your business or organisation even if they are not related to your normal field of work.

The obvious truth is that the so called secret of service excellence is actually very simple. It requires clear and consistent leadership from the top, the right culture, great people, and customer-focused systems, processes and tools. If your company can achieve a positive and efficient service experience wherever your customers happen to be, and can scale it, then you’re on your way to defining what good customer service means to your company.

Excellence, always. Smile.

With massive acknowledge and thanks to the wonderful insightful Tom Peters.

Be Amazing Every Day.

Handling the President’s Brain (and yours)

Handling the President’s Brain (and yours)

Ouch. I broke a small (but apparently essential) bone in my right wrist over two week ago, while being a good citizen (don’t ask). I didn’t want to put any pressure on our ‘in crisis’ UK Accident and Emergency departments, so I self diagnosed it as a sprain and treated it with ice and compression. I was of course a complete idiot. I had an X-ray of my wrist today and yes, a scaphoid fracture was diagnosed. On the bright side,two week of pain and swelling forced me to use my non-dominant (left) hand and I started to think about the effect of neuroplasticity on handedness, my brain and the brain of the President of the USA.

Let me explain why. The percentage of the world wide population whom are left-handed is about 10%; this figure seems to be consistent across all countries. Left-handedness is somewhat more common among men than among women. While we may think the terms left and right are used to define handedness, there are actually four distinct types:

  • left-handedness,
  • right-handedness,
  • mixed-handedness, and
  • ambidexterity.

There is a fantastic statistic I came across, that 7 of the last 12 Presidents of the US have been left handed, which appears statistically significant (although 2 were ambidextrous). Amar Klar, a scientist who has worked on handedness, says that left-handed people have a wider scope of thinking and points to the disproportionately high number of Nobel Prize winners, writers and painters whom are left-handed. Michael Peters, a neuropsychologist at the University of Guelph, points out that left-handed people have to get by in a world adapted to right-handers, something which can give them extra mental resilience. [See the end of this post for details of the International Left Handed day].

Ziggy played guitar, jammin’ good with Weird and Gilly; and the Spiders from Mars, he played it left hand…’

Famously Jimi Hendrix was naturally left-handed but his father, Al, initially tried to force the young James to play right-handed. He believed playing left handed was a sign of the devil. Hendrix took right-handed guitars and restrung them for playing left-handed. Hendrix did continue to write right-handed. Other great left handed guitarists include Tony Iommi, Kurt Cobain, Paul McCartney and many more. But it wasn’t always easy for some of them…Blues legend Albert King was not only left-handed, he was an upside-down player. King played right-handed guitars (usually Gibson Flying Vs) simply flipped over, so the low E string was nearest his feet. He also used unorthodox tunings, as low as C to allow him to make sweeping string bend.

In many European languages, including our very special English language, the word for the direction ‘right’ also means ‘correct’ or ‘proper’. Throughout history, being left-handed was considered negative. The Latin adjective sinister means left as well as unlucky. There are many negative connotations associated with the phrase left-handed: clumsy, awkward, unlucky, insincere, sinister, malicious, and so on. In French, gauche means both left and awkward or clumsy, while droit(e) means both right, as well as law and the legal sense of right.

Though no one knows exactly what makes someone left or right handed, it is tempting to say it is genetic. New research the challenges this belief: the University of Nottingham’s Prof. John Armour and Dr. Angus Davison, and University College of London’s Prof. Chris McManus, have ruled out a strong genetic determinant in influencing handedness. William Brandler, of Oxford University’s MRC Functional Genomics Unit and first author of the earlier study that found a genetic association, warned previously that their results did not completely explain the variation of left- and right-handedness within the human population. As with all aspects of human behaviour, nature and nurture go hand-in-hand. The development of handedness derives from a mixture of genes, environment, and like Hendrix’s father, a cultural pressure to conform to right-handedness.

Ok, so now I am officially down to one functioning non-dominant left hand. Could I become the next Jimi Hendrix? Or maybe the next US President (I can’t, as I was born in the UK). How can my brain help me be better, faster and quicker? Let’s go back to my earlier blog about the brain and acknowledge it’s fantastic plasticity and it’s ability to continually adapt and rewire itself. Even in my old age (jump in here and say ‘but, you are not old Tim’) my clever brain can grow new neurones. Severe mental decline is usually caused by disease, whereas most age-related losses in memory or motor skills simply result from inactivity and a lack of mental exercise and stimulation. In other words you better use it or lose it.

So can my super impressive brain change to cope with my hand disaster? Generally our brain is a brilliant thinking organ that learns and grows by interacting with the world through perception and action. Mental stimulation absolutely improves brain function and protects against cognitive decline, as does physical exercise.

You may be surprised to learn that there are benefits to you when using your opposite hand. It feels awkward and you are likely to have much less control over what your non-dominant hand can do, but when you use your opposite hand you are growing your brain. I am using my right wrist injury as a chance to permanently grow my brain. I made an intention to start using my left hand for as many tasks that were previously always done with my right. It is time to grown my brain.

The human brain is an smart organ that improves through mental stimulation and challenge. In fact by using your non-dominant, or opposite hand, it confuses your brain. Which is a good thing. Using your opposite hand will strengthen existing neural connections and pathways in your brain and even develop more efficient pathways and connections. It’s similar to how physical exercise improves your body’s functioning and grows muscles (you may remember my blot on Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor). Some therapists have used an exercise where they ask their patients to write with their opposite hands, and it allows people to access some suppressed emotions. The brain is in charge of keeping you functioning and it does that with predictability. It needs some stress and a challenge to get stronger.

Neurobics™ is a unique system of brain exercises using your five physical senses and your emotional sense in unexpected ways that encourage you to shake up your everyday routines. They are designed to help your brain manufacture its own nutrients that strengthen, preserve, and grow brain cells. Created by Lawrence C. Katz, Ph.D., a professor of neurobiology at Duke University Medical Center, neurobics can be done anywhere, anytime, in offbeat, fun and easy ways. So why not give it a go and begin to grow your brain and make faster and quicker. Start with:

  • Try using your non-dominant hand to write. It’s tough at first but keep going.
  • Use your non-dominant hand to control the computer mouse or television remote control.
  • Brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand.

You’ll probably notice it’s much harder to be precise with your movements. When I first started to brush my teeth with my left hand, it was hard to actually move my hand instead of my head. Using your left hand might remind you how you felt when you were first learning to write your name, or tie your shoelaces. You will probably feel awkward, but this just means you are teaching your brain a new skill.

Maybe you will become a future President, a Proteo-Hendrix or both. Maybe you will just grow an amazing neural network.

My advice: Be Amazing Every Day but don’t bother breaking your wrist to do it.

International Left-Handers Day is held annually every August 13th. It was founded by the Left-Handers Club in 1992, with the club itself having been founded in 1990. International Left-Handers Day is, according to the club, “an annual event when left-handers everywhere can celebrate their sinistrality [meaning left-handedness] and increase public awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of being left-handed.” Sponsored by Team America.

Change Your Brain by Changing Your Mind

Change Your Brain by Changing Your Mind

Think different. Or as my old University (UEA) asserts in it’s motto, Do Different. Consider the possibility (and joy) of overcoming your fears of change or your worries and doubts about life, by using your powerful mind. When you change your mind, you can change your brain. You might well agree that the things you learned earlier in life, are the ones that are hardest to change. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks is a saying for a reason. Have a read of my own design for flow diagram of quotations, which I sometimes use with clients to understand the change process:

I love these quotations and they all reflect an attitudinal shift needed for change. The longer I live, the more I realise the impact of attitude on life. Attitude is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. Attitude is everything.The mysteries of our attitudes, how the mind and brain understands them, are many and very complex. Neuroscience is just beginning to unravel some of these challenges and is beginning to suggest what we can do different.

Apparently worry (about change and everything) is an evolutionary strategy expressed as an emotion, when we feel threatened. In a recent New York Times article, David Ropeik makes the case that most of us don’t know how to worry. Although we often underestimate how risky something really is, we are even more likely to overestimate the dangers of taking actions that would actually help us. In other words, when it comes to evaluating the risk / benefit ratio of our actions, we do a pretty poor job. Ropeik argues that our brains are wired to worry first and think second. This quote from the work of NYU neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux sums it up in a nutshell: connections from the emotional systems to the cognitive systems are stronger than connections from the cognitive systems to the emotional systems.

In fact your brain is wired to produce change, a constant in the brain, as it is in life. We know change involves learning, and all learning generates change in the brain. When you seek to replace a behaviour, your actions produce neurochemicals, cytokines and molecular changes in neurones. As messengers, neurones communicate by transmitting electrical signals along their axons and dendrites, and these signals are activated by the neurotransmitters in the synapses. Your brain and body is a sophisticated communication network. Your subconscious mind, the mind of your body, manages all of the systemic processes that you do not have to think about, as well as all of your personal requests, wants or commands, both conscious and subconscious.

I think that everyone experiences painful change (trauma) at some point in their lives. From death, breakups, marriage, divorce, job changes, launching a business, redundancy, money, dishonesty, tax, moving house or retirement, change has the capacity to scare us even when it is not real. Whether it’s kicking a bad habit, shifting a business focus, changing behaviours, changing company culture, or trying to change the world, change can be very challenging. Perhaps it’s time to improve our ability to defeat the traditional challenges of handling change. We can learn to override our default setting through the understanding of neuroplasticity.Neuroplasticity is the mind’s ability to change the brain. It reverses scientific dogma which held that mental experiences result only from physical goings-on in the brain and we can’t do much about it. But extensive studies by neuroscientists confirm that our mental machinations do alter the physical structure of our brain matter.

An excellent view of how we can unlock our brains through neuroplasticity is given byJeffrey M. Schwartz, M.D. He is an American psychiatrist and researcher in the field of neuroplasticity and its application to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) which is an extreme form of worrying. Brainlock is a term coined by Schwartz to describe obsessive-compulsive behaviour and to describe a treatment plan he published in his 1997 book Brain Lock: Free Yourself from Obsessive-Compulsive Behaviour.In the book he claims he doesn’t use drugs to treat patients. He teaches them to rewire their brain by changing how they think. He created a successful four-step approach for OCD which can adapted for fear of change:

  1. Relabel. Relabel the obsessive thoughts and compulsive urges as obsessions and compulsions, not as real thoughts. An unwanted thought could be relabeled “false message” or “brain glitch.” You step back and say, “This is just my brain sending me a false message.” This sounds easy, but it is very tricky to master. Focusing on something completely different when your brain is sending long-embedded directions with overwhelming force, is incredibly difficult.
  2. Reattribute. Reattribute the obsessive thoughts to a brain malfunction called OCD. This second step answers the question, “Why do these thoughts coming back?” The answer is that the brain is misfiring, stuck in gear, creating mental noise, and sending false messages. In other words, if you understand why you’re getting those old thoughts, eventually you’ll be able to say, “Oh, that’s just a brain glitch.” That raises the natural next question: What can you do about it?
  3. Refocus. Refocus on a wholesome, productive activity for at least fifteen minutes. The third step is where the toughest work is, because it’s the actual changing of behaviour. You have to do another behaviour instead of the old one. Having recognised the problem for what it is and why it’s occurring, you now have to replace the old behaviour with new things to do. This is where the change in brain chemistry occurs, because you are creating new patterns, new mindsets. By refusing to be misled by the old messages, by understanding they aren’t what they tell you they are, your mind is now the one in charge of your brain.
  4. Revalue. Revalue the entire obsession and compulsion group as having no useful meaning in your life. It all comes together in this fourth step, which is the natural outcome of the first three. With a consistent way to replace the old behaviour with the new, you begin to see old patterns as simple distractions. You devalue them as being completely worthless. Eventually the old thoughts begin to fade in intensity, the brain works better, and the automatic process in the brain begins to start working properly.

Some may argue that we are hard wired to worry, as an evolutionarily strategy for survival and we can’t change. However, what makes us distinctly human is precisely our ability to use our cortex to override the emotional storms that brew in our subcortical brain regions. This storm causes us to dwell so much on our past that we forget to live our present. Holding onto something, whether it is a person, feelings or expectations, only creates a barrier in our life that stops us from moving forward.

By controlling your worries, you’ll not only make better decisions, but feel better because you do. Maybe we can retrain our brain by invoking the Apple tagline: Think different. Then do different.

Act now, don’t stop. Change the world.

Be Amazing Every Day.

How Much Do You Earn? The Easterlin Paradox

Are you happy? How much do you earn? Look, I can’t force you to give me a break here, but it would benefit us both if you did.

The quality of mercy is not strained*

Faced with the following choice, would you rather…

a. Receive £5,000 and a friend gets £3,000, or

b. Receive £10,000 and a friend gets £15,000?

The answer (or an attempt at an explanation) a bit later. Sometimes you need to distance yourself to see things clearly. Most of us have had feelings of jealousy or envy in our lives, but nowhere may it be more difficult to deal with than in the workplace. How much do you earn? The so-called salary taboo does seem to be much less of a problem in stereotypically forthright America than in stereotypically stiff-upper-lip restrained Britain. According to the research, 67% of UK workers are uncomfortable talking about what they get paid in contrast to 17% of Americans. Even that American % is much higher than it was a few years ago, suggesting that widespread unemployment, resulting from the state of the economy, may provoke survivor guilt among those still comfortably off. No one really likes to admit they’re jealous or envious of a co-worker. The problem is the difficult economy has made our stress and insecurity more pronounced, which can often exacerbate the jealousy we feel on the job. We become more emotionally sensitive, and find ourselves battling the green-eyed monster in the office. See also Mudita.

Here is what happens (probably) when you ask someone to tell you how much they earn:

  • They hesitate.
  • They try to change the subject.
  • They go red.
  • They won’t tell you.
  • They make something up.

It appears we fear being judged about our salaries, either undeserving or boastful about large ones, or morally inferior for earning less, and friendships thrive on equality, or at least the illusion of it. Yet this whole moral dimension to wages collapses when we consider the paradox given at the beginning: option a or option b?

The answer is complex and lies within the Easterlin Paradox. It is named after the economist and USC Professor Richard Easterlin, who discussed the factors contributing to happiness in a 1974 paper [Does Economic Growth Improve the Human Lot? Some Empirical Evidence. In Paul A. David and Melvin W. Reder, eds., Nations and Households in Economic Growth, New York: Academic Press, Inc.pdf]. The paradox refers to the fact that while, in any given country, richer people tend to report more happiness than poorer ones, very rich countries don’t have happier populations, on average, than only modestly well-off ones. Recent research (2014) has utilised several measures of happiness, including biological measures showing similar patterns of results.

One possible implication for government policy is said to be that, once basic needs are met, policy should focus not on economic growth or GDP, but rather on increasing life satisfaction or Gross National Happiness (GNH). It was originally designed in an attempt to define an indicator and concept that measures quality of life or social progress in more holistic and psychological terms than only the economic indicator of gross domestic product (GDP).

At present, we are stealing the future, selling it in the present, and calling it GDP. —Paul Hawken

GNH has only been officially used in one country (Bhutan), where a Gross National Happiness Commission is charged with reviewing policy decisions and allocation of resources. Sounds a cool job.GNH value is proposed to be an index function of the total average per capita of the following measures,

  • Economic Wellness. Metrics via direct survey and statistical measurement of the economic situation, such as consumer debt, average income to consumer price index ratio and income distribution.
  • Environmental Wellness. Seen via direct survey and statistical measurement of environmental metrics such as pollution, noise and traffic.
  • Physical Wellness. Indicators include statistical measurement of physical health metrics such as severe illnesses.
  • Mental Wellness. Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of mental health metrics such as usage of antidepressants and rise or decline of therapy / depression numbers.
  • Workplace Wellness. Seen through direct survey and statistical measurement of HR metrics, e.g. jobless claims, job change, workplace complaints, grievances and lawsuits.
  • Social Wellness. Taken from direct survey and statistical measurement of social metrics such as discrimination, safety, divorce rates, complaints of domestic conflicts and family lawsuits, public lawsuits and crime rates.
  • Political Wellness. Trickier to measure, can be via direct survey and statistical measurement of political metrics such as the quality of local democracy, individual freedom (rights) and foreign conflicts.

There is a big debate about whether we can actually get accurate and reasonably objective measures of our own well-being. Clearly income (if we are honest and answer the question of course) is just one of many factors that influences how satisfied we are with our lives. Psychologists do say we often feel jealous when we sense someone has taken something away from us that we were attached to emotionally. That might include the fear that other people earn more than you (whether rational or not). Maybe the other measures of well being (listed above for GNH) might help give you a better perspective.

So how much do you earn? It depends…and option b please.

Don’t think of cost. Think of value. Be Amazing Every Day

*Merchant of Venice, Act IV, Scene I , William Shakespeare, 1564 – 1616. The quality of mercy is not strained. Portia is importuning Shylock to show mercy, but recognising that she cannot demand it. [Very roughly meaning, Look, I can’t force you to give me a break here, but it would benefit us both if you did]. Shylock declines, of course, and this proves his undoing…now Portia uses his ‘letter of the law’ attitude against him.

The Ostrich Problem


Question: Why do Ostriches stick their head in the sand? Answer: They don’t.

There will be plenty of people over the Christmas and New Year period whom will not check their online bank balance, despite wanting to be in control of their money. If your bank balance is going into the red, you wouldn’t be the first to deliberately avoid a statement and scientists now think they know why. Interestingly they call it (wrongly) the Ostrich Problem.

The much maligned common ostrich (Struthio camelus) is a species of large flightless birds native to Africa. It is distinctive in its appearance, with a long neck and legs, and can run at up to about 70 km/h (19 m/s; 43 mph), the fastest land speed of any bird. Despite holding the title of the largest living birds; they stand 7 to 9 feet tall when fully grown and their heads are relatively small. This is important because from a distance, ostriches nibbling at food on the ground may appear to have their heads in the dirt.

The expression bury your head in the sand apparently comes from the supposed habit of ostriches hiding their heads when faced with an attack by predators. The story was first recorded by the Roman writer Pliny the Elder. But the more likely root of this claim has to do with ostriches’ nests. Male ostriches dig a size able hole up to 6 to 8 feet wide and 2 to 3 feet deep, which is plenty big for their puny heads—in which to stow the eggs. During the incubation period, both parent ostrich take turns rotating the eggs with their beaks, a task that requires them to submerge their heads into the nest, thereby creating the illusion that their heads are buried in the sand.

An interesting take on this story (without much support, however) is that ostriches are not smart and believe that if they can’t see their attackers then the attackers can’t see them. Of all the many forms of protest over the years, this head-in-the-sand action is the most inspiring. In beaches and in sand piles across the world in 2014 protestors buried their heads to draw attention to the inaction of world leaders on climate change and the outright denial by many about the existence and extent of the problem.

We tend to bury our heads in the sand because we feel guilty when confronted with reality, say psychologists led by Dr Thomas Webb at the University of Sheffield. The study, published in the Social and Personality Psychology Compass journal, suggests that people are actively motivated to avoid information. Dr Webb says that promoting lasting changes in behaviour is one of the most significant challenges facing science and society. His four-year project, which ends in 2015, seeks to understand why people avoid monitoring their goal progress and, by so doing, find ways to promote monitoring and help people to achieve goals. Dr Webb also cites a 2012 survey which found that only 10 per cent of people who worry about their finances daily check their bank balance at least once a month.This active ignoring of information about one’s current standing relative to one’s goals is part of popular culture, yet current scientific perspectives assume that people will actively monitor and seek information on their progress. They call this the ‘Ostrich Problem’ ignoring the obvious biological and physiological errors.

Despite evidence that self monitoring can be good for us (classically stepping on the scales when trying to lose weight) there are times when individuals intentionally avoid such information.The researchers think people ignore what is going on around them to avoid negative feelings, often of guilt, that accompany being presented with reality. Dr Webb said: ‘The Ostrich Problem is the idea that there are times when people would rather not know how they’re doing.’ Avoiding monitoring may allow people to escape from negative feelings associated with an accurate appraisal of progress. The socalled Ostrich Problem includes situations in which people receive relevant information but intentionally fail to evaluate the implications for their goal progress – in other words, they reject the information. It concluded that the Ostrich Problem is now part of popular culture, giving rise to the terms bury your head in the sand and ignorance is bliss. Just remember the wonderful quotation from Martin Niemoeller,

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me — and there was no-one left to speak for me.

The need for creative and committed leadership, sustained over the long haul, has never been greater. There is not just a need to get others to pull their heads out of the sand but for each of us to wonder about the warm dark places we burrow into.

Heads up!

Be Amazing Every Day.

Webb, T. L., Chang, B., & Benn, Y. (2013). “The ostrich problem”: Motivated avoidance or rejection of information on goal progress. Social and Personality Psychology Compass7(11), 794-807. DOI: 10.1111/spc3.12071

Are You Ready for Service Excellence?


Organisations Exist to Serve. PERIOD.In December I had a problem with a well known ‘new’ UK bank. In their flagship local London store, my cards were cloned and overnight, all my money was extracted in Guatemala and Honduras. Their USP claim is that they don’t have traditional bank rules and poor service. It was a car crash of system to get my money back; I was on hold for 3 hours. Consider Howard Schultz talking about Starbucks,

At our core, we’re a coffee company, but the opportunity we have to extend the brand is beyond coffee; it’s entertainment.

It’s 2015 and we really do live in a service economy. In most western countries, service accounts for more than 75% of GDP, a share which will continue to increase. Service is therefore important for all types of companies, because they now compete primarily on the service that they provide.

So why is there so much bad service? Why do so many companies struggle to deliver even the most basic services let alone give great entertainment (except in not doing what they claim is their USP)? If all companies effectively compete on service, the key differentiator then lies in the service management model and the ability to execute it. The key reasons why a service company fails to deliver excellent service are:

  • The Knowledge Gap. They don’t know or understand what the customer expects.
  • The Design and 
Standards Gap. They don’t have the right service designs, processes or systems to execute a plan.
  • The Performance Gap. They are not delivering to its own service standards and rarely show Excellence, always.
  • The Communication Gap. They are not matching performance to service promises – expectations and values are not explained.

So what is the basis of service excellence? Leadership and culture now play a greater role in effective service organisations today than ever before. Many claim to have cracked this particular problem. Some suggest that excellent service is where service is:

  • reliable
  • timely
  • personalised
  • memorable
  • unnoticeable
  • remarkable

The trouble is that this has such a narrow focus on how service is delivered (the internal processes ) or on the service itself. It is also very short sighted and exists in a world that no longer exists. Service Excellence can be understood by this simple function (taken from Service Management 3.0 – the next generation of service by Morten Kamp Andersen and Peter Ankerstjerne)

Excellent Service Customer Perception minus Customer Expectation

When customers evaluate a service they will compare their perception of the actual delivered service to what they think it should be. This process is often done at a sub-conscious emotional level. So try this de-stilled formula (with help from Tom Peter’s Excellence Paper ) and apply a small droplet of wisdom:

  • Excellence, always. From now on do nothing less than excellence behaviour. The small stuff matters and you can change everything with this philosophy.Don’t forget to tuck the shower curtain into the bath tub. Conrad Hilton
  • Great Execution of the Emotional Signature Do more than is required, and remember Drucker’s view on great leadership: They do … ONE BIG THING at a time. 
  • Positively Engage with your customers at every opportunity. Your plan for engagement is meaningless without excellent execution.

Execution is strategy —Fred Malek

  • First Class Communication is vital because your customers want to feel valued and respected. They’re also looking for peace of mind that they can trust you will deliver what you promise
  • Understand Your Market and anticipating your customers’ changing needs will enable you to think and stay ahead of the competition. Monitoring the wider economy and analysing how changes will impact your customers. They should be your number #1 focus always.
  • Get Current Feedback from survey and asking great questions so you get an honest assessment of your business from the people that matter – your clients.
  • Flexibility and Innovation so your clients get exactly what they want, in their way, every time. Exceed expectations and make their lasting memory amazing.
  • Mentoring encourage staff members at all levels to mentor newer team members. Not only does it give them pride and drive to unlock other people’s talents, it develops stronger teams.

If you want staff to give great service, give great service to staff —Ari Weinzweig

  • Have an Amazing Training Programme so that staff can see how their development will progress step by step. Service companies who desire to be excellent, do not only have great people, they also have great processes for how to induct, introduce, train, manage, develop and promote these people.They have a system and a culture of processes which are founded on a great respect for human character and a belief that an individual can do wonders if he/she is just provided with the right tools and management processes.

Believe the difference the little unexpected extra can make. It can come in different shapes and forms, such as a smile, a positive and fun remark, random acts of kindness or the additional effort by the service professional going the extra mile. The old models of service are are no longer sufficient. Their future focus should be on the service delivery system and the power of the human touch. Frontline service employees should be empowered to create appreciated service moments and through their service performance influence and preferably leverage the purpose of the customer organisation.

Maybe take on board Tom Peter’s wonderful formula:

K = R = P (Kindness = Repeat business = Profit.)

EXCELLENCE. Now. EXCELLENCE. Always. Thanks Tom.

Be Amazing Every Day.

Your Brain Can’t Handle New Year’s Resolutions

Your Brain Can’t Handle New Year’s Resolutions





The neuroscience is indeed interesting; the brain cells that operate willpower are located in the Pre Frontal Cortex (PFC), which is the area right behind your forehead. This area of the brain is also responsible for staying focused, handling short-term memory and solving abstract tasks. When you set a New Year’s resolution, it is this PFC area that goes into overdrive, as an enormous amount of willpower is required. It is this surge in activity at that your brain simply can’t handle. Imagine your Pre Frontal Cortex as a simple muscle; it needs to be trained, developed and worked on. If you decide to train this ‘muscle’ at the start of the New Year, with a resolution to say quit smoking, add to it start going to the gym and then lose lots of weight, that’s the equivalent of doing an world record squat lift without any previous training. It’s no surprise that your brain can’t do the heavy lifting.

Look into my eyes and just do it. So you can blame your overloaded brain for it’s lack of success on seeing through you resolutions. There is a secondary problem about trying to tackle a goal because someone told you to (or because you simply think you should). It seems that taking on a goal because of outside pressure just makes people want to rebel. There’s an important distinction to be drawn between goals that we feel that we should accomplish and those we believe we truly want to accomplish. Rarely do we attain goals unless we truly embrace the goal. Make sure you’re only picking goals because you’re ready and eager to fulfill them.

So what strategies might work in helping you achieve your NYr? The latest research into the psychology and the neuroscience of goal setting and willpower offer some surprising non-cliché tips for making your resolutions work for you.

1. Pick Only One Resolution. Start with the biggest goal you have for 2015 and let’s focus on that one. Exclude all the sub goals and mini resolutions. In an experiment conducted at Stanford, one group of students was given a two digit number to memorise while the other group was given a seven digit number. Afterwards, they were asked to walk down a hallway while holding that number in memory and presented with the option to eat a slice of cake or fruit salad at the end. It turns out that the seven digit memorisers were nearly twice as likely to choose cake over the fruit salad. It was as though memorising the extra numbers took up ‘good decision making’ space in their brain. Pick one key goals to focus on and you’ll be much more likely to follow through. Then, let go of everything else, otherwise you’ll be picking the chocolate cake for every situation, instead of the choice that you set out to make.

1. Start on Monday. I know that New Year is on a Thursday this year, but think about the 5th as your key day. The turn of another year tricks us into seeing our big-picture selves, our slates wiped clean. Take advantage of it. People commit to their goals more fiercely after a major benchmark like New Year’s Day. If you are an I-don’t-believe-in-resolutions person who nonetheless wants to break a bad habit, wait for a Monday. It’s the most popular day of the week for starting diets and stopping smoking, studies show.

2. Focus on the carrot, not the stick. A new powerful study from the University of Chicago outlines how clearly positive feedback on any of your new habits will increase the likelihood of your success with your new habits and resolutions. Hand in hand with this goes the fact that rewarding yourself for advances with your habits with things that make you feel great way to increase your success rate.

3. Pick a Round Number. George Wu, Professor at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and his colleagues recently looked at marathon runners at the end of their races. A huge number of people finished in times that clustered around ’round’ numbers, the researchers discovered e.g. a 4-hour marathon. Marathon runners feel a lot worse just missing these really arbitrary reference points: the round numbers. So when people are really, really close to just missing their round-number goal, they’re much more likely to speed up at the painful end to beat it. People who are projected to beat it comfortably, however, actually slow down.

4. Chunk it up. My hero, the late Professor George Miller came up with a theory about short term memory ( 7 +/- 2 ) that helped people learn and recall more efficiently. Use the same ‘chunking up’process for your NYR. You know how good it feels to tick off an item from your to-do list. Put that to work by hacking a massive goal (reading 24 books a year, say) into parts (two per month).

One very comforting and important last fact is that having strong willpower is not something we’re born with, as opposed to popular opinion. So just like your muscles have to be trained in order to grow stronger, so does the Pre Frontal Cortex in your brain. The key is to make sure not to start lifting too heavy, as then we’re bound to drop everything on the floor with our New Year’s Resolutions.

One goal, 365 days, Be Amazing Every Day.

Happy New Year.

Stop Bad Customer Service Now

Stop bad customer service now. There is a way to change customer service forever. Meta cognition could lead to a paradigm shift in hospitality, service and training. When circumstances are tough (and that is true for hospitality, customer service and many other businesses at the moment) it’s important that you become more creative and find new ways to solve old problems.

Meta cognition loosely means thinking about thinking. It is often the highest goal that trainers could pursue, but rarely try. So how to solve the problem of poor service? Look at this rather brilliant study of nearly 1000 dinners by food critic Barry Verber; he found that pushy waiters deter diners from leaving tips. These over-attentive waiting staff have been named as the most irritating practice in British restaurants. Nearly half of the diners surveyed said that servers deterred them from leaving a tip because they were:

  • Topping up already full glasses of wine
  • Taking away plates while they are still chewing
  • Repeatedly interrupting to ask, if everything is okay 
  • Generally uncaring
  • Untidy appearance
  • Coughing while serving

According to the majority of the diners surveyed, a ‘good’ restaurant has staff that are:

  • Attentive
  • Professional
  • Friendly
  • Extensive product and menu knowledge.

So this old problem needs to find a new solution. Service training has traditionally been seen as an area where drills and old fashion repetitive exercise work best. Well the results are stark from this survey….they don’t work. We need to change our own thought process and start the move to developing staff who think for themselves while they serve. Meta-cognition and self-regulation approaches aim to help learners think about their own learning more explicitly. This is usually by teaching staff specific strategies to set goals, and monitor and evaluate their own development. Self-regulation means managing one’s own motivation towards learning. The intention is often to give staff a repertoire of strategies to choose from during service training activities. The research out there says it does work with a number of systematic reviews and meta-analyses have consistently found similar levels of impact.

There are many ways to improve service and move toward being excellent. You could (of course) keep pounding your head against the wall and expecting different results with old school training methodologies. The turnover rate and level of poor service (look at those numbers) indicate this doesn’t work. So why not look at the problem in a new way? Start teaching meta cognition as part of the training process. In order to be excellent at service, you need to learn to monitor and reflect upon your own learning. This is true in teaching and training for staff about service.

I have previously written about the power of smart technology and mobile learning for staff. It gives crucial feedback and rewards staff that take control of their learning process. By working on developing thinking skills for staff that will develop long-term sustainable excellence. If we begin to see the goal as developing new leaders, then teaching thinking comes pretty high on that list.

The economic crisis has been a blessing for creativity in training. This might sound strange, but a major advantage of lack of money is that it brings back creativity. New ways and technologies can be used to teach ‘how to learn’ that give sustainable and profound impacts on customer feedback. Customers don’t appear by magic and loyalty disappears in a market where there are lots of choices available. To build up a team of excellent staff, you have to be flexible, be daring and willing to make changes.

Today business and hospitality is all about relationships and the most profitable companies have the strongest relationships and the most loyal customers. Let’s think differently about learning and how we learn to learn.

Be Amazing Every Day.

Hospitality: Just a Beer Light to Guide us?

If you own or run a restaurant, bar or hotel and you’re not already thinking about the next generation technology, you’re already too late.

Believe it or not hospitality is already technology-driven and if you don’t have it, you’re not doing smart business. Whether you like it, or not, technology is moving faster than you can move.The effective use of this technology can either make your business faster, leaner and ultimately, it can help you deliver a guest experience they’ve never had before.

New advances in technology pervade nearly every aspect of our society, and hospitality is certainly no exception. Eating out is already undergoing a digital revolution with 70% of restaurants due to accept mobile phone payments in 2015. We are already surrounded by computerised point of sale, bar management, hotel reservation and front office, energy management, menu scoring, and accounting and inventory systems, along with computer-controlled cooking equipment as friers and digital microwaves.

New technology is here to stay, and it’s high time the hospitality industry moves along with it. To be able to do this efficiently and effectively, however, we need to understand the reasons why difficulties presently exist and how they may ultimately be resolved. So what’s the best way to integrate technology into a restaurant, hotel or bar? I have been looking in detail at the current state of technology in restaurants, bars and hotels and the changes that are on the near horizon. While future scanning (see also super forecasting) is very tricky there are some undeniable trends in innovation, from the internet of things / internet of everything to the way we train staff to be Excellence, always. Here are some key waypoints to start you thinking:

  • Just a Beer Light to Guide Us. Websites and social media are the biggest drivers to restaurants, bars and hotels. If they can’t find you fast they go elsewhere. Local footfall needs a great big digital sign: Enter Here. What is your digital strategy to highlight your establishment? What are the next generation location finders that will keep the customers coming?
  • Training Gets Smart. Training is a critical issues for hospitality particularly if there are multiple sites. I have seen some attempts at introducing systematic training with eLearning – most of which are clunky and very last generation. Mobile learning is the way ahead. World Manager® is I believe, the first all-in-one corporate communications platform allowing CEO’s to train, track and communicate with every employee in the world, by the minute. Currently it is use in over 22,000 business locations in 51 countries. In 2013, according to BRW, over 25% of the fastest growing companies in Australia are using World Manager®. Companies such as Billabong, G8 Education and Goodyear Dunlop Tyres use World Manager every day and their teams can access World Manager from their Smartphones, Tablets or Desktops, on both Apple and Android operating systems. It effectively delivers online training, face to face recording, policy sign-offs, manages live workshops and tracks national training stats. It has job ready and vetrack integration, tracks and report staff completion of topics and enhances and sustains trainer messages. Cool and very smart.
  • Back-end Gets Smarter. Scheduling and inventory management control systems. Technology is needed because restaurants will eventually become a paperless system, eliminating things such as credit cards and payrolls. The use of next generation stock control and the Internet of Things will require more broadband and better software.
  • The Age of Accessible Data. As long as the value exchange is enticing enough, consumers are more willing than ever to allow hospitality brands access to their data.
  • Fast Free Wireless Access. If there’s no Internet connection, there will be no repeat business. It’s all about bandwidth. Businesses need a bandwidth plan.
  • The New eMarketplace. eMarketing, sales, public relations and advertising are some of the key elements that are changing rapidly. However, this approach seems to be insufficient with the introduction of digital marketing trend, to generate leads and improve online customer experience.
  • The ES Customer experience. The emphasis should be on delivering excellent customer care throughout the buying process. So simple things like apps letting you know your table is ready eliminate the need for restaurant pagers, which are limited by distance. Digital measures of the emotional signature and metrics helping the design of excellent service. See alsoHospitality Must Change.
  • Smart Technology Branding. The immense growth of mobile world (smartphones and tablets) is s quickly surpassing the age of desktop, laptop and personal computers, which enabled hoteliers to create a cohesive brand experience across all the mobile devices taking into consideration content compatibility with limited screen resolutions.
  • TMS (Not test match special)…Table Management Systems that track turnover and available seating, help keep tabs on customer flow. From the art of being the Host who gets flow and turnover, to the science and algorithm of management and peak flow.
  • Mobile phone payment. Fast food chains are currently the main place where mobile is accepted as payment, with many restaurants still relying on cash or wifi enabled electronic-point-of-sale (EPoS). 68% of restaurants planning to accept the payment next year via Near Field Communication (NFC) . Credit card security is a major issue for hospitality. Customers can pay right at the table without ever losing sight of their credit card.
  • Swipe it Now. Tablet-ready menus, as opposed to paper menus, can be updated immediately and in real-time. Customers’ ability to customise or change their orders via apps eliminates the need to chase down waiters or waitresses.

In the hospitality industry, it is important to be vigilant and on the move and aware of the fast change environment and technology out there. There is a need to be agile and continually trying to explore new territory with fast evolution and adoption rates.Innovation with purpose and authenticity. Consider these quotations and compare them to the cost of moving forward with your technology:

  • If you make guests unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.
  • If we don’t take care of our guests, someone else will.
  • One Guest, well taken care of, could be more valuable than £ 10,000 worth of advertising.
  • There is only one boss. The Guest. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.
  • A Guest is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependant on us, we are dependent on him.
  • There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.
  • Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten.
  • Guests may forget what you said but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.
  • The purpose of a business is to create a mutually beneficial relationshipbetween itself and those that it serves. When it does that well, it will be around tomorrow to do it some more.
  • Guests don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong.
  • Our greatest asset is the guests! Treat each guest as if they are the only one!
  • Treat every guest as if they sign your pay cheque, because they do.
  • Guest complaints are the schoolbooks from which we learn.

Finally, here is a simple but powerful rule – always give people more than what they expect to get.

Be Amazing Every Day.