Noticing: The Gift that Keeps on Giving
We recently ate at a busy restaurant in Chicago. Staff bustled but didn’t hurry. I asked if we could sit outside for dinner. The hostess spotted a table, hustled over to clean it, and seated us in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.
During dinner, my wife and I noticed the hostess seating people, cleaning tables, and serving food. She hustled around like she owned the place.
She checked in with us just as our dessert arrived.
“You’re doing a marvelous job,” I said. “It looks like you do everything here. What’s your job?”
She lit up and said, “I’m the manager. I can’t let my team down. Thank you for noticing.” We chatted briefly. She hustled away smiling.
The next morning, we saw a bizarre exchange while we ate breakfast in the same restaurant.
A normal looking woman approached a member of the restaurant staff, but looks are deceiving. We couldn’t hear her complaint, but she was unhappy with a capital UN.
The exchange ended with the woman carrying a pitcher of water out of the restaurant. A few minutes later she returned with a half full pitcher and had some final words for the same staff person. I decided to bring it up.
“It looked like you had a bizzare exchange with that woman.”
He chuckled and said, “We see some pretty strange things here.”
I said, “Well, you handled it wonderfully.”
He smiled brightly and said, “Thank you for noticing.”
It’s easy to notice things you don’t see every day.
We don’t notice the people we see every day. But the energy and effort of high performance is the same whether you’re seeing it for the first time or the hundredth.
Things that go unnoticed lose value.
The best thing about noticing is it’s disproportionately powerful and cost effective.
Who should you notice today?
The important part when noticing something is saying something. All too often I notice something but don’t say anything. It’s helpful, but I’m not taking advantage of the full power of noticing. I need to do better.
Thank you for this post. I am going to make a note in my calendar to remind myself to pay attention. I think writing a note of appreciation to staff members can be very powerful, too.
Thank you for the post…noticing is part of intention…which is a part of compassion…Be safe and stay healthy.
The same applies to noticing the small improvements a team member makes. It often takes time and effort for a team member to improve in an area. The best way to keep them improving is to notice the positives – no matter how small.
Thank you for this! This statement “Things that go unnoticed lose value.” is so powerful!
I couldn’t agree more, Rob. And the best part is that when your team members win, you, and the entire organization, win too!
Very powerful story. The same goes for active or “effective” listening. So many times we only notice and hear what we choose and to your point, power is lost. Thanks for the challenge to notice more especially the small things that make such a large impact. I hope to improve in both areas so that I can continue to add/multiply value to people daily.
Sounds simplistic, but “noticing” is a visual thing. We notice things that catch our eye. Brands need to prioritize getting noticed, and you do that with visuals that stand out from the usual stock photos. Your content might be superb, but if you don’t get noticed, it goes unread. Great post, thanks!
This adds weight to my suggestion/argument that management at my office should send shout outs each time a team is successful. Thank you and I’ll use this to bolster my efforts in getting that done.
My observation and experience at Corporate Offices during my career reflect one fact that people who are loyal to the organizations will always have good eyes to notice something good everyday. Effective leaders make it a point to make it public and use them to encourage and motivate employee staff. On the other hand, noticing any irregular thing leads to the prompt correction or improvement.
It’s a matter of cultivated good habit that can help at the work place, home society! It’s surely beneficial once acted wisely.
Thanks for this Dan. It is pretty easy to notice, if you pay attention. I was able to put this into actin yesterday at lunch. It was super busy in the restaurant, but the waitress and the kitchen crew (who we can see) were humming along. The waitress was the only one on staff for the whole back room and I told her what a good job she was doing by herself, like with your story, she lit up. On the way out, I took the opportunity to poke my head in the kitchen and say “Lunch was good today, thanks” and they lit up.
Noticing is good for both the ‘noticer’ and the ‘noticee’. 🙂 I will be paying better attention and noticing more often.
Another great post! I think I’m good at noticing, but I could do a lot better at SAYING something about what I notice!
Cheers my friend.