January 21, 2022

I’m Leaving on a Jet Plane

This week started off with three flights; two metropolitan cities; two different hotels and a handful of meetings before 6 am – no joke. Life on the road in 2022 has officially commenced and I continue to pinch myself for the life that I am blessed to live. Tuesday morning, after a long weekend, I watched the sunrise from 30,000 feet in the air as we flew from Pennsylvania to Arizona, where the adventures began. Everyone believes that traveling is glamorous – and while I do have the privilege of seeing beautiful places, there are obstacles and challenges that are a reality – and, who you choose to partner with matters. After landing in Arizona and checking into the Kimpton Palomar, I had 60 minutes to turn around from traveling Lindsay to ready to go meet people Lindsay. For the first trip of the year, I bought a new dress and I was feeling really good both about myself and the things that we were going to do on this trip. 

I put the dress on and went to zip it up and the zipper gets stuck. Mind you, I’m alone, in a hotel, so I twist the dress around to unstick the zipper and after what felt like a battle with an alligator, the zipper broke – with the dress on me. This was not how I planned to start my adventures for the week. At this point, I now had only15 minutes before I needed to be out the door and through the grace of all of the years I studied dance, I managed to get out of the dress and moved to plan B, my backup dress. 


On a whim, I sent a text to the hotel desk asking if they had someone on site who could replace a zipper same day for me, they responded as expected, that they didn’t think so. I thought to myself, no big deal, and was instantly glad that I packed an extra dress. As I’m walking out of the hotel room, the phone rings and it is one of the hotel managers. Our dialog goes something like this:


N: “Lindsay, this is Nate. The team told me about your zipper. I’d like to personally drive your dress to the seamstress. I’ve called two and while they can’t make any guarantees until they see the zipper, and I want to do this for you.”

L: “That would be amazing, I’m actually heading out, I’ll drop the dress off on my way.”

N: “Sounds great!”


When I walked off the elevator, I felt like I was in the middle of a scene in “Pretty Woman” – the General Manager, Front Desk Manager, Front Desk Team and Bell Captain all greeted me and told me that they would do absolutely anything for me. Flattered, and slightly overwhelmed, I gave Nate the dress, engaged in a dialog with Jeremy, and went on my merry way to my jam packed day full of meetings. 


About an hour later, I received a text from Nate letting me know that my zipper was fixed and my dress was hanging in my closet in my room waiting for me to get back that evening. I thanked them profusely and they continued to reiterate, they would do anything for me. I’ve probably told this story a dozen times this week, and the reality is, I didn’t care about the zipper – and I didn’t need the dress. What I cared about and what I want to assure that I carry forward is the way that the team made me feel. Sure, I’ve spent 300+ nights at this particular hotel, but that didn’t obligate them to solve my problems. It didn’t obligate them to become a personal errand runner and zipper fixer. And it certainly didn’t obligate them to continue to go above and beyond, every time. 


How often do we in our businesses take the extra step and go the extra mile for our clients? How often do we step out of our lanes to make sure that they are both taken care of and communicated to throughout the process? The Kimpton Palomar Phoenix staff could have stopped after I sent the text and told me that they didn’t offer that service and that would have been fine. But they escalated the question and found out of the box, out of their company solutions to a problem that was mine and mine alone. They set expectations, they communicated and they delivered – and they communicated again. It really got me thinking, what would happen if we led our teams to look at situations with a broader lens and to focus on what creative solutions exist for problems? What opportunities would those actions create for your organization? How can we teach that service extends far beyond your actual job description? What if we had a day where instead of saying “No, I’m sorry we can’t” we gave our teams the freedom and autonomy think about how they can solve a problem? You never know when your can do attitude will surprise and delight someone and make them a forever raving fan – both as a team member and as a client. 


So what happened to the dress? The next morning I put the dress on and felt like I was living Groundhog’s Day as the exact same thing happened – turns out the seamstress fixed the zipper and didn’t replace it. But you know what, I didn’t care at all. All that mattered to me were the extraordinary service levels and efforts put forth by both Nate and the Kimpton Palomar Phoenix team. 

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