The letter below is something that I sent to my team of school directors today. We are constantly thinking and working on engaging staff and families (our customers). Then later in the day I found a ironically appropriate prologue to my experience. You can see it all below.
I am sitting on a plane heading to see Sharon and Jackie. As I was boarding the plane this morning, I was reminded by the Delta staff of a simple, and yet effective, way of creating engagement. As every person was scanning their boarding pass, the “gatekeeper” was carefully reading each boarding pass so that she could greet each customer by name. She not only greeted them, bad made sure she was pronouncing each name correctly. If it was a difficult name, she asked the customer if she got it right. And she did it an authentic and cheerful way. She helped set the mood for those boarding the plane and those working with her.
Every customer boarding the plane immediately felt like someone at Delta cared about them…as an individual.
Then as we boarded the plane, a flight attendant greeted everyone with a smile and a “welcome aboard.” Then midway through the aircraft, another flight attendant stood and greeted the passengers as they loaded baggage and found their seats.
It was authentic from start to finish. And it was also intentional. They were not doing this by accident.
The obvious analogy is that we can, and should, be doing this each and every day for our staff, children and families. In most cases, you can think of the admin team as the person taking the boarding passes. You are frequently the first person each child and family sees. What tone are you setting for them? Do you call them each by name or do you say things like “momma” or some other term of endearment to the parent or child.
The classroom teachers would then be those “on the plane” and could continue that positive and authentic spirit of welcoming parents and children.
Wouldn’t it be terrific if every family felt that each and every day? I sure think so!
I can imagine that all of these Delta workers have challenges in their lives. I am sure some of them have personal struggles, obstacles, and may even be in some very difficult situations. However, if that was the case, I sure could not tell at all. None of them came up to me and complained about their work, or each other, or about the passengers. Every interchange was positive and focused on ensuring each customer had a great experience.
Let me challenge you to deeply think about this concept in your centers. Think how YOU, yes, specifically you, can set that tone. Then talk to your team about doing the same.
Just like with Delta, it will not happen by accident. It is an intentional commitment and mindset.
My day has been uplifted by my experience. Let’s do the same for our staff, children and parents!
I read this article later this same day about the CEO from Delta. Again, a great analogy that leadership starts at the top.
Enjoy your day and make it a great day for others!