Take a moment and think about the last week. Which moments evoked a sense of joy, pride or happiness for you…? Whatever it was, that moment is likely to have had some characteristics that made it memorable. Was it because you accomplished something significant? Was it about having a great conversation with someone? Was it about giving or receiving recognition…? Whatever the reason was, consider this… what if we could codify and then proactively create these moments of magic for the people that we care about. How much happier and effective could we all be?
We all have such defining moments in our lives which are meaningful experiences that stand out in our memory. But most of these moments tend to be unintentional… they just seem to happen when a combination of factors align. That said, I discovered recently that we don’t have to leave our most meaningful, memorable moments to chance, we can create them! The authors of The Power of Moments provide a really simple framework on how to proactively create these Defining Moments.
Defining Moments are made up of 4 elements:
1. Elevation – they rise above the everyday… they are extraordinary!
2. Insight – they rewire our understanding of ourselves or the worl… we realise something that might influence our lives for decades.
3. Pride – they capture us at our best… moments of achievement or courage.
4. Connection – they are social and are strengthened because we share them with others.
Lets dig a little deeper into each element…
1. Elevation – Defining moments rise above the everyday… they are extraordinary. To elevate a moment, there are three things that you can do:
- Raise the stakes – by adding an element of productive pressure, such as a competition, a game, a performance, a public commitment… a moment is elevated because people feel they have achieved something significant.
- Break the script – don’t make it reasonable. The moment needs to feel extraordinary. For example at Pret a Manger, staff can give away food and drink to customers to “make their day”… without any approval.
- Boost sensory appeal – the moment needs to look/smell/feel different, so turn up the volume on reality so that it feels like something special is happening.
2. Insight – Defining moments rewire our understanding of ourselves or the world… we realise something that might influence our lives for decades.
Moments of insight deliver realisations and transformations. Whilst many are serendipitous, we can help build environments where people “trip over the truth” for themselves. Tripping over the truth happens when you have a sudden realisation, one that you didn’t see coming, and one that you know is right. It can change the way you see the world.
For people to discover the truth for themselves in a compressed timeframe, there are two interventions that can help:
- Create situations that expose people to the risk of failure… because when we stretch ourselves, we gain insight.
- Provide access to mentors… people that encourage high standards, give assurance, provide direction and support… to help them stretch their own beliefs and actions.
3. Pride – Defining moments capture us at our best… moments of achievement or courage.
This is simple! Moments of pride are spontaneous, so when you notice something good being done, take the time to recognise it there and then… in the moment. A few minutes of recognition can change lives.
4. Connection – Defining moments are social and are strengthened because we share them with others.
You can ‘spark’ moments of connection for people by:
- Connecting to meaning – building a common meaningful purpose allows people to reconnect through their efforts in pursuit of a greater goal.
- Creating a synchronised moment… hold events where people are physically together.
- Sharing a struggle – invite people to participate in a struggle, and as long as it is their choice to participate and are given autonomy to work.
So there you have it, 9 tips on creating powerful defining moments for people in your life. Whilst they are easy to articulate, putting them into action is tough. Why…? because they require a change in behaviour, and they require planning and preparation. Don’t underestimate the work involved… but the pay-off can be huge.
Here are four questions for you to consider in bringing these concepts to life within the context of business change… to help your teams feel a sense of joy, pride, and happiness…
- How are you engaging with stakeholders? Are you “telling them” or helping them to “trip over the truth” regarding the change you are looking to make?
- What goals have you set the team? Are they challenging? Are they connected to some meaningful purpose that allow the teams to connect towards a greater goal, beyond money?
- What milestones have been set that provide opportunities to celebrate what has been achieved?
- Are workshops designed to facilitate deep insights, moments of pride and a shared connection?