Quite by accident, I stumbled onto the Harley-Davidson company’s 100th-year-anniversary celebration in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I flew from my home in Minneapolis to Milwaukee for a speaking engagement. Once I landed, I rented a Ford Taurus beige car for my trip. I was suddenly surrounded by thousands of black leather, bandana-wearing, hard-core Harley riders. They had traveled across the world to celebrate 100 years of Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
I’ve never been on a Harley. I’ve never dreamed of owning a Harley. I’ve never thought of myself as a Harley-kind-of-a-guy. But that day in my beige rental car, I wanted a Harley. I wanted to be a part of the Harley gathering. I wanted to see my wife Susan in black leather on the back of a Harley…(OK that’s a different issue.)
As I watched the interactions between biker to biker, two words surfaced that seemed to create a great connection. A stranger would walk by a rider, glance at their Harley and simply say, “Nice Bike.”
It really hit me that once our basic needs are met, we all have two core needs.
Number one: We need to belong — to a family, a tribe, a faith community, a great company, a united team. We all need to feel connected.
Number two: we all need to hear, “Nice Bike,” which translates to “I see you, I hear you, and I appreciate you. This world, this organization, or this community is a better place because you’re in it. You belong.”
It was the gold star on your paper in elementary school. It was being invited to sit at a lunch table in middle school. It was the high school teacher remembering your name on the second day of classes. It’s the smile from a stranger during your travels. It’s a manager taking the time to let you know how much you mean to an organization.
Nice Bike may only be two words, but it can be broken down into three powerful steps:
Acknowledgment is an awareness of others. It’s letting people know who they are and what they do matters. Instead of thinking someone is doing a good job, it’s taking the time to say it out loud.
Nice Bike is honoring other people and knowing what’s important — not to ourselves — but to them. It’s giving a sincere compliment not because of what it will do for you, but because of what it will do for the other person. It’s serving others with a sense of passion.
Nice Bike is making a connection. It’s creating a bond — large or small — that makes a difference in the life of someone else.
Here is a perfect example of Nice Bike: I attended at a birthday party for a friend, Tim Line, who is married to Lori Line, a virtuoso piano player. She owns and runs the largest woman-owned independent record company in the United States.
Tim was celebrating his 40th birthday, and Lori threw a party in their home with 75 people attending. In the middle of the party, Lori gathered everyone together for a toast to Tim. After the toast, Tim said, “I want to thank each and every one of you for coming tonight to help us celebrate. You are all very special people to us, and I want to make sure you all know the role that each of you play in our lives.”
Tim went on to introduce each person and explain how they were connected to him. He recognized every single person in the room. You could see each person glow a bit brighter when Tim talked about him or her. He acknowledged, honored and connected with every person in the room. It was Tim’s night, but he really made it about his guests. It was a true Nice Bike.
Here is a perfect example of Nice Bike in the workplace. I spoke in Chicago for Encompass, one of the largest personal insurance brands in America. My presentation closed out a three-day meeting of 200 key leaders and managers for Encompass. After my presentation, Cynthia Young, the president of Encompass, came back to the podium to close out the event.
No doubt about it, Cynthia is a dynamic leader. She has a clear vision for the company, a keen ability to surround herself with talented people, and a sure sense of how to connect with her team.
Like most company presidents at the end of a big event, Cynthia wanted to thank the members of the planning team that had worked so hard to put the meeting together. Most of the time, the president asks the planning team to stand up and scrolls their names on a screen as the audience applauds for eight to ten seconds. That’s the norm.
But Cynthia went beyond the norm and gave each person his or her own Nice Bike. She asked the twelve team members to stand up, and she said, “I want to thank each and every one of you for putting in so much time to make this such a turning-point meeting for all of us. Now, most of us know these people’s faces, and many know their names or even their titles. Let’s take a moment not only to say thank you, but I want to tell you something more about each of these talented people . . .”
Cynthia went on to share something about each person’s life. She talked about their hobbies, their families, and their service to the community—something unique about each and every person. Her comments were specific, interesting, and highly complementary. She spoke without any notes. She really knew her people. It was impressive. But most important, it was from the heart.
I’ve never seen people beam so much in my life. The room lit up with their smiles. Why does Cynthia Young have such a dedicated team at Encompass? She acknowledges, honors, and connects with each and every team member.
Would you like to make a difference in someone’s life? It could be a stranger, a co-worker or a family member. Acknowledge, honor and find a way to connect with them. Find out what they value and Nice Bike them. It not only builds a better team in your business, it makes for a more meaningful ride through life.
This article was originally published as 3 Ways Wholesalers Makes a Difference in the Lives of Their Clients, Coworkers, Family and Friends on Wholesale Masterminds.