An idea for more personal communication with your Guests

At the Catalyst conference last year, Charles Duhigg spoke on The Power of Habit: Why we do what we do in life and in business. His message was so powerful that our entire team read the book together and discussed it for 6 months. 

Our takeaway produced an idea that I can't get out of my head, every time I get an email or text.

Duhigg told the story of Paul O'Neill becoming the CEO of the worlds largest aluminum company (ALCOA) and throwing his shareholders off balance during a season of declining profits by initiating a new "Keystone Habit" for the organization: reporting all employee injuries worldwide up the chain so it arrives on his desk within 24 hours. Shareholders could not see the relevancy to profits and were skeptical. Great employees were fired who failed to see the importance of this new organizational habit. The results after year one in this high-injury industry? Injuries became rare, workman's comp and insurance claims were reduced drastically, employees felt cared for, productivity increased and waste was reduced as a lot of the injuries had to do with spills. A massive increase in profits resulted world-wide.

In other words, the bottom line in the organization was radically and positively impacted by a new habit that had no direct connection to performance or growth.

After reading this book, the Build Community Team at my church decided to explore what such a habit might be in our culture. It wasn't easy. Our minds were trained to come up with ideas that had a direct connection to growth, groups started, people connected. So we asked ourselves: What would be a keystone habit that was qualitative in nature that would indirectly impact results for our team?

Here's the habit we came up with:  Respond to all emails, phone calls and texts within 24 to 48 hours. 

That's it. Rocket science, I know. This would include communication from guests, church members, volunteers and staff. Automatic emails would be in place to let people know when we would be returning messages if we were sick, out of town or on vacation. 

Why this habit? Why do I think this is a transformative idea in helping people connect in our churches? Because the opposite of love is not hate. Hate os too passionate to be the opposite of love. The opposite of love is apathy. Apathy is what we communicate to guests, volunteers, and team members when we don't respond to each other in a timely way or at all. This is the opposite of the kind of community Jesus is building in all of us. 

The opposite of love is not hate. Hate os too passionate to be the opposite of love. The opposite of love is apathy. Apathy is what we communicate to guests, volunteers, and team members when we don't respond to each other in a timely way or at all. 

So we began to ask ourselves, what would our staff culture look like if the keystone habit in our church was that we responded to each other consistently within 24 to 48 hours? What would our guests feel like if their inquiries and questions were handled with that kind of turnaround? What would our volunteers feel like if we not only responded to them quickly, but we modeled and expected them to do the same with each other and their teams?

Our answer? We would feel like and look like a well connected, loving and easy to connect with church.

Our team adopted this habit and I wish I had a nickel for every time a guest emailed me back to tell me how wowed they were by my quick response. That makes the impression I want to make on our guests. Try this idea out and see how something so simple changes everything.

For a great deal from Amazon, click here: The Power of Habit and order copies for your team and read it together. Great connection awaits!

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  • Share an example of a quick response to commutation from a guest that made a positive impression.
  • Share an example of a slow or non-existent response to commutation from a guest that made a negativeimpression.
  • What do you think the ideal turnaround time is for communication with guest? With fellow staff?
  • Could you make an individual, team wide or even church wide standard on this issue? What would that look like?
Greg CurtisComment