I have been recently wowed by the 21C Museum Hotel in Cincinnati.  I have really high expectations so being wowed is a high hurdle.  Recently, I led a innovation workshop there. I was worried about it because my experience with hotels and innovation workshops has been mostly dissatisfying.  Rooms not set up as requested or technology not present or in working order.  Dark rooms that lower energy.  When I arrived at 21C, everyone was welcoming and pleasant and everything was as requested and in working order.  It was easy.  Not a wow, just what I expected, which for hotels is a step up.

The wow came over time.

  • I realized that I needed another table and some extra chairs given larger turnout than planned.  They immediately set up what I needed without question or great distraction.
  • The staff frequently checked in to see if all was ok, especially when the staff was transitioning from one team to another, making sure I was introduced to my new point of contact.
  • When I checked out, I asked them to email my receipt and, when it did not arrive, I called. You’d think this would be a disappointment.  However, when I received my pdf of my bill, it was entitled cindy_is_awesome_21ccin_folioxxxxx.pdf. Silly, I know, but it made me smile and feel better. The person who helped me took a small step to humanize and personalize.
  • I attended a political reception two weeks later, ironically in the same room.  A whole different crowd and context (suits vs. jeans).  My main point of contact for my workshop, Zach, saw me across the crowded room and came over to say hello and chat briefly. Simple stuff. That he recognized me is positive, as it means he was engaged when he was assisting me. That he cared enough to walk across the room to speak, that was special. It was human connection.  He asked how I was and would I be back again. To which I responded an enthusiastic “yes!”.
Paying attention, welcoming and engaging are all just being human.  It helps us feel connected and good.  Even when something doesn’t work out as you expect, being human first can make it a positive situation.


Take Action

Are you being human in your daily work and interactions?  Try it in a space that perhaps is more routine and automatic and see what happens.

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