Book:  The Power of Moments

Author:  Chip Heath & Dan Heath

Purchase:  PrinteBookAudiobook

Citation:  Heath, C. & Heath, D. (2017). The power of moments : why certain experiences have extraordinary impact. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Three Big Takeaways:

  • The lack of attention paid to an employee’s first day is mind-boggling. To avoid this kind of oversight, we must understand when special moments are needed.  We must learn to think in moments, to spot the occasions that are worthy of investment.  (pg. 18)

  • Even though high school students log more time in the classroom than anywhere else, their most memorable experiences rarely take place there.  Instead, they remember prom, football games, musical productions, and talent shows. (pg. 48)

  • Does it payoff for all of these moments?  Can you measure it?  Does it show up on the bottom line?  Yes - think of all of the tangible outcomes - more revenue, greater customer satisfaction, more motivated employees, more effective employees, more happiness, closer relationships, self-transformation (pg. 255)

Other Key Ideas:

  • When we recall an experience, we ignore most of what happened and focus instead on a few particular moments.  When people assess an experience, they tend to forget or ignore its length - a phenomenon called “duration neglect.”  Instead, they rate the experience based on two key moments: (1) the best or worst moment, known as the “peak” and (2) the ending.  Psychologists call this this “peak-end rule.” 

  • When we assess our experiences we don’t average our minute-by-minute sensations.  Rather, we remember flagship moments - the peaks, the pits, and the transitions. 

  • Business leaders who can spot their customers’ moments of dissatisfaction - and take decisive action to support those customers - will have no trouble differentiating themselves from competitors.  Offering to help someone in a difficult time is its own goal and reward.  (Pg. 29)

  • Retirement celebrations tend to be mundane - such as a sheet cake in the conference room.  The moment deserves so much more.  Colleagues could take the stage and tell stories of the retiree’s life and career.  Should hybrid a wedding toast and a eulogy.

  • Need to fill the pits, and then create moments that will make the experience “occasionally remarkable.” What’s striking is that many leaders never pivot to the second stage.  They scramble to fill potholes, but then never aspire to create extraordinary events.  Should instead always encourage employees to go for the moments that make a customer’s jaw drop - that’s what playing offense looks like. (pg. 54) 

  • Imagine the things an unenlightened boss might say: (pg. 63) "Why don’t we just take the easy way out"…It’s going to be hard to create peaks, but once you’ve done it, you’re going to consider every ounce of effort worth it. 

  • If you ask people their most vivid memories, research shows they tend to focus on ages 15-30.  Psychologists call this the “reminiscence bump.”  The reason we remember our youth so much is that it’s a time for firsts - jobs, travel, living, relationships.  Important to make these experiences important as educators! This is an explanation for why time seems to accelerate when we get older.  Our lives become more routine and less novel. 

  • Whatever you do do not hurt a student’s pride - this can last with them for an eternity.  However, when a teacher offers praise and support, this can lead to transformation.  Or when a teacher points out the strengths of the student. A few minutes can change a life.  These moments just don’t happen...thoughtful teachers made them happen. (pg. 142)

  • When employees are asked to rank factors that motivate, one factor was always at the top - “full appreciation of work done."  More than 80% of supervisors claim they frequently express appreciation to their employees, while less than 20% of employees report that their supervisors express appreciation more than occasionally.  (pg. 148)

  • Recognition should be spontaneous - not part of a scheduled feedback session - and it should be targeted at specifics.  Should make the employee feel noticed for what they’ve done. “I saw what you did and I appreciate it”

  • When you find yourself infuriated by poor services, chances are it’s because of lack of responsiveness.  (sitting at a table at a restaurant forever, on hold for a long time, etc.)

Copyright © 2019 by Dr. Jared Smith LLC.  Specializing in Leadership, Education, and Personal Growth.