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Trick or Treat

Posted on Thu, 2017-10-26 14:03 by Martin Dempsey

It’s that time of year again and you find yourself standing in the atmospheric Scottish drizzle gripping the hand of a tiny Princess Elsa or the hand of a slightly bigger Lego ninja and you slowly realise that you have a lot of neighbours that you don’t really know.

There are people who love to see kids come to their door, nervously stumbling through the dreadful joke that their dad has proudly taught them (and thinks is hilarious).  There are carved pumpkins outside the door, paper spiders hanging from the ceiling and big bowls of goodies for the kids.

There are also those who don’t appreciate the hassle of a mid-week parade of vampires, witches and Disney characters at their door.  They typically reflect this by hiding in the room at the back of their house whilst the front of their house does an admirable impression of a power-cut.

In between, there are the houses which have bought some fun-size Mars bars and monkey nuts out of a sense of duty and simply hope that their doorbell doesn’t ring too often.

Now, here’s the thing – you can usually gauge the response before you’ve even started up the path to the front door.  From the street, we can make a reasonable instinctive judgement on which houses will be welcoming to kids and families that they don’t really know, which will open the door and complete the perfunctory ‘treat for trick’ transaction and which will simply ignore them.

That’s true of every environment.  It’s said that it takes seven seconds to form a first impression and we make instant, instinctive judgements of every person and place that we encounter every day.  The barista on the way to work, the supplier who visits to sell their products or the office that you walk into for a client meeting.

The next time you walk into your workplace – or someone else’s – give some thought to how welcoming it is to a new visitor.  There’s no single right answer to that – not every business should be the house with the pumpkins or the spiders, but there is a right answer for every organisation. 

Over the course of this month, most businesses will have had clients, suppliers or even investors visiting their space, they may have interviewed candidates for jobs or inducted new employees in to their team.  Getting that first impression right isn’t about giant logos on the wall or a fountain (or even a bowl of sweets) in reception, it’s about reflecting the best of your culture and values for that first moment that anyone new approaches your business.

So, whether your October 31st will be spent sitting by the door waiting for the bell to ring (enthusiastically or not) or, like me, your evening promises a tour around the neighbourhood with Sonic the Hedgehog and a Princess, take a look at the houses, how welcoming they seem instinctively, and how it changes your mind-set as you approach each one.

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