L&D Lessons Learned from Being a Parent (Part 2 of 5)

Surprise and Delight

Very recently, I took a long weekend trip to visit my best friend from college. This was the first time I have traveled alone in a long time. No kids, no strollers, no diapers. Heaven.

I was very surprised when my bag got searched at security. But when the TSA Agent pulled a full 16 ounce waterbottle out of a crumpled brown paper bag marked “For Mom”, we both laughed. Much to my surprise, my middle kiddo had packed me a “care package” that included travel-sized hand sanitizer, two bandaids, a rubber band, a sticker, and a full water bottle.

Care package sans confiscated water bottle.

This simple act of sending me with things she thought I would need made me smile. It totally made my day and brought a little giggle anytime I thought about it. My daughter’s act of kindness reminded me of an important customer service tenet I learned in my earlier days working in retail – ‘surprise and delight the customer.’ The idea is to look for something to enhance the customer’s shopping experience, bring a smile, or share something to help the customer. Even though I no longer work directly in the retail sector, the same principle can be applied to my current work with clients. And this got me thinking- what can I do to bring joy to those I work with?

Acts of kindness don’t need to be fancy or expensive, they can be something small like sending a joke or a meme to brighten someone’s day. Or maybe taking a coworker to coffee or emailing a coffee gift card. It’s easy to surprise and delight and the simple act can make a big difference for the receiver.

Can you imagine what this might look like in a professional development experience? Who expects to be surprised and delighted when they’re going through a training program? What might happen if you arrived to a workshop early and taped take-home job aids under the participants’ seats? What if you created some hot spots for fun and unexpected “Easter Eggs” that could lead to bonus content in your next elearning module?

My kids taught me: Never underestimate the power of surprise and delight. Look for ways to spread joy throughout the day.

Share your experience! Have you ever been surprised and delighted by a coworker, client or facilitator? 

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