Last weekend, Mary Kay and I traveled to Las Vegas to join her Uncle Bob for his 90th birthday celebration. When asked what he wanted to do for this momentous event, he said he wanted to drive to Vegas from his home in San Jose, Calif., and celebrate in the city that never sleeps with family. Joining him were his children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and even a one-year-old great, great grandchild. A total 25 people joined the celebration from around the U.S. including MK’s brother and four sisters.
Uncle Bob wanted to see David Copperfield perform. His daughter bought $72 tickets for everyone and we went, en masse, to the 4 p.m. show on Saturday. Neither Mary Kay nor I had seen Copperfield perform previously so we, too, were excited.
I was reminded a great deal about value that afternoon.
Copperfield has a great reputation, but I walked away in absolute amazement and am now committed to see him perform EVERY time I got to Vegas in the future. He was that outstanding and delivered much more than was promised, even though the hype is so enormous that his picture is on the side of the MGM Hotel! The experience was much more than just the magic he performed, even though I don’t have a clue about how he does any of his illusions.
The experience included every phase of his show—from the beginning when everyone in the theatre sent a text to him identifying where they were from, then viewing a world map the size of the stage that identified, with a light on the map, their homes. The theater included people from South Africa, India, Canada, South America, the Middle East, Italy and more. In fact, I think there were people there from six of the seven continents.
Mary Kay’s Godson’s fiancé was one of the lucky ones who appeared on stage for one of the illusions. She was not a plan, for sure, and enjoyed the illusion as much as we did. In one of his acts, he disappeared and re-appeared standing on a platform directly behind us.
David Copperfield was a leader in the true sense during that performance. He showed us where to focus our attention, and rewarded us for doing so. He tapped into our emotions to enhance the experience. He made us feel good for the time (and dollars!) we invested in spending time with him.
Value. It comes from delivering more than customers expect.
The other Leadership Lesson I enjoyed was reaffirming the importance of family. I came from a very small family and never experienced the joys, or the frustrations, of having many siblings. Mary Kay, on the other hand, enjoys the “thrill and chills” of being one of six kids. Is there drama at times? Sure! We can’t pick our family members, can we? It doesn’t compare, however, to the love that flows when everyone gets together.
Even those of us from small families typically have a type of family at our place of employment. Do we look at this blessing as our “work family?” Leaders create an atmosphere where people WANT to go to work because of the relationships they form. Some of my lifelong friends are people I worked with over the years. The memories are wonderful. The stories may get old for Mary Kay when she hears the same story for the 25th time, but they bring me joy every time I re-tell them. (And, perhaps, they even get better with age.)
As we head into a new year, let’s look at all of the leadership opportunities that surround us. We have a chance to lead every day of the year. We have a chance to bring value to customers every day.
I hope 2016 brings great joy, great love and the ability to end the 2016 by saying, “I became a better leader this year.”