Byron's Babbles

Leading With No Brown M&Ms

IMG_5234I had the chance over the weekend to live out a rock and roll legend first hand. When I got to Washington D.C. on Saturday for the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) Legislative Conference I checked into my hotel, The Madison Hotel. When I got to may room I was pleasantly surprised by a bowl of M&Ms®, peanuts, and a bottle of wine. To me the best of those was the bowl of M&Ms®.

As I was getting settled in I got the text below from Mizane at the hotel:


I had already tweeted a fun message and then promptly texted a response to Mizane. Check those out here:


Here is the response I got:


The story goes, and it is true, that the 1980s superstar rock band (and I went to many of their concerts) Van Halen demanded, via a clause embedded in their tour contract that the dressing rooms would have bowls of M&Ms® with the all the brown M&Ms® removed. This was not as David Lee Roth (band front man) described it, “a simple rock start misdemeanor excess,” but an ingenious way to know that all details of the very complicated contract were followed. The clause was buried in the details of the contract and it would be read and followed carefully to find it.

So now for the rest of the story of The Madison Hotel’s attention to detail. Yesterday I got, you guessed it, a bowl of M&Ms® with the brown ones removed. Of course I tweeted about it. Here is the tweet:


The staff of The Madison Hotel certainly understands the importance of talk triggers. You know I have been telling the story all over the place to my fellow state board of education members from all around the country. Therefore, what would my talk trigger sound like? First, I was texted to as to how I was doing and if I needed anything. What I found was that someone on the other end was really listening and cared what I said, because even when having fun and asking for a bowl of M&Ms® with the brown ones removed – I received it!

This reflects the hotel and staffs attitude of care and a commitment to meet every need a customer puts forth. When we pay attention to the little concerns of customers, it is unlikely that many major concerns will occur.

This is not a matter of perception, but is a reality and one with which, we as leaders, and our organizations should make peace with and do. Here is my question for you: Are you willing to remove all the brown M&Ms® for those you serve?

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