Last week I went away with my family for a much-needed rest and regroup. Like many of you, life with 3 children aged 15, 13 and 11 during term times is pretty hectic between school, sports and juggling their social lives. Throw running your own business into the mix and yep I’m ready for school holidays too when they come around.
So we headed up to Queensland first to hang out with my brother and his family and then scooted down to the beautiful beach town of Lennox Heads to hang with some very dear friends, Andy & Maria.
Andy happens to be a whizz in the kitchen – even the children were excited to get there – “We can’t wait for Uncle Andy’s cooking” they shouted from the back seat of the car – that’s saying something when it comes to children!
One evening, Andy decided to teach the kids how to make their own fresh pasta. He patiently talked them through the recipe and watched on as they each carefully measured out ingredients. He guided them through the blending and kneading of the dough, explaining the nuances of technique and the importance of letting the dough rest for, ‘at least 6 minutes’ – and the children sat with their hands protectively covering their own bowl of dough and… they waited.
I then watched on as they took it in turns to roll out their dough, carefully sprinkling flour as required, focused on getting the right length – all the while Andy stood in the background guiding, watching, gently correcting and patiently answering questions. And then the moment of truth as they each fed their dough through the pasta machine, calling on each other to help, as they made their own spaghetti and fettuccine.
They cooked it, they wolfed it down with lots of commentary about how awesome it tasted and they talked and talked and talked. And all the way home they continued to talk, trying to remember the recipe, discussing the benefits of fresh pasta versus packaged pasta and they subsequently have been researching where we can buy a pasta machine.
And this experience got me thinking about the opportunity we all have, as leaders, to create memorable experiences for the people we work with. You see, leadership is always more than simply getting the job done or hitting that milestone in the project plan.
It’s about how people are experiencing the work, how it makes them feel about themselves and about each other. It’s about continuous learning and interacting with others. It’s about how they are feeling and experiencing the work across as many senses as possible. It’s about leaving a longer-term impression – one that people remember, talk about and share with others. It’s about the memorable experience outliving the moment.
Memorable leaders create memorable moments.
Like Andy, great leaders are able to tune in to the people around them, removing tension or providing guidance as needed. Their supportive presence creates a safe environment to give things a go, to make mistakes, to ask those ‘stupid’ questions. They share unconditionally, teaching always because they know that mastery of anything is an ongoing process and it takes time. They know that creating a memorable learning moment, one that informs and inspires, takes more than simple instruction.
So whilst we decide on which pasta making machine to buy, what can you do as a leader this week to create a memorable experience for your team?
Until next time.