We own nice
During a lunch break at a recent conference, I had the chance to chat with one of the event planners. Because the lunch items were just delicious and so nicely presented, I wanted to thank the planners.
"Tom, are you the lunch-item-picker-outer?" I asked since I knew him quite well. "Lunch was really delicious."
Tom grinned and said, "I'm glad you enjoyed it, but no, I can't take any credit. I happen to know the venue manager really well because we've come here for various events several times throughout the year. I just explain about the group's objective that we want to achieve and she goes to work. I just stand back. If you want to know the truth, I haven't reviewed an actual menu in, oh, probably five years."
So we talk about the phenomenon this is, since both of us frequently attend events and are often ones in which the food as well as the wait-staff could be improved.
Tom continued, "Here's a great example. Last year I was working with an event manager, and in our conversation I told her that one of our operating principles is 'We own nice.' That means we do everything we can to be nice to attendees and make sure they have a nice overall experience. The event manager thought for a moment and said, 'You know, after hearing that, I'm changing the wait staff I had planned for your event because I see now that you wouldn't like them. I'm changing to an entirely different banquet crew that you will like — because they personify nice.'"
Tom saw the skepticism in my face and then held up his hand and said, "That's the whole truth. It really happened. But why in the world would there be both a nasty crew and a nice crew in the first place?" he asks.
"Beats me, Tom," I respond. "I sure wouldn't want such a group to be part of anything I handled."
How about you?
[Nancy Linenkugel is a Sylvania Franciscan sister and chair of the department of Health Services Administration at Xavier University, Cincinnati.]