A plea for scripted authenticity and kindness

by Polle on April 20, 2012

A friend of mine is the manager of a large cafe in the city centre of Utrecht (The Netherlands). Every morning he will serve his first customers a coffee. For free. Because he thinks (and knows) that people will remember small random acts and tell others.
But he’s the only one to give away free drinks. The rest of his staff never hands out free drinks because of people being early, nice, memorable or just for the sake of … well, because they can. Possibly because they’re conditioned by a previous manager that they can’t give away free drinks. Because free drinks are ;less cash in the register;. Or because ‘you just don’t do that’.
And that’s why my friend had to set a new rule. When you’re working in his restaurant, you HAVE to give away at least three drinks/bites during your shift and report to him. To (almost) force his staff to be kind. To break the staff’s belief that you ‘just don’t give away free drinks’.

That’s the basic idea behind scripted authenticity and kindness.

Changing traditional companies to suddenly act ’empathic’, ‘authentic’ or ‘kind’ is not easy. Inspiring them helps. But sometimes you just need traditional methods to ‘force’ human behavior.

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