Not often do we come across an awesome T.E.A.M. but the fantastic staff at Lady Elliot Island are one in a million!
Hament Chavda, Business Culture Expert and founder of Coach 26, shares his experience of Lady Elliot Island:
In Untangle T.E.A.M. Synergy and BOOST Profit! We explore just how important it is to lead by example, as most people are a reflection of the expectations of their peer group or team leader. Now it just happens we came across an Island Chief that did exactly that lead by example. It wasn’t be using his muscle but sheer energy, leading by example and exuberant positive energy.
Its not often we have the opportunity to observe culture 24/7. Even in a hotel we leave the environment and perhaps only come back to sleep, shower and have breakfast.
Where does this tribe reside? Well, in 2009 I came across this gem of an Island by chance whilst searching for coral islands which may be similar to the Maldives, that offer snorkeling off the shore. I signed up to the newsletter and repeatedly mesmerized by the updates from the island swimming with Mantas and turtles, oh ye the beauty of nature to escape from the hustle and bustle of every day. Ok, I live in Perth so perhaps this should read escape the pointers off shore!
Notice my first interaction with the ‘business’ was four years prior to actually purchasing a product…
My second interaction was with Reservations. Helpful is a little understatement, and I called them a few times to talk about anything from temperature of the water, airport parking, food preferences, luggage allowance. Each time whoever I spoke to were more then happy to help and assist with our questions. In fact on booking, my credit card had been maxed out after paying for all the flights etc and she was happy to take a $500 deposit and take payment a few days later once I transferred funds etc, this was outside their terms of payment but as a customer I was treated like one.
My third interaction, reflective of today’s shoppers was reading comments about the island from visitors, primarily trip advisor. The reviews were positive and any negative comments were quickly responded in a genuine caring manner. We all know the difference between honest service recovery and just trying to make excuses to cover up bad service.
I once watched Anthony Robbins during an intervention say to a participant, ‘try and pick up the chair’ and she would pick it up and then he would say, “ No! Try and Pick up the chair”, repeatedly until eventually I realised the difference between trying and actually doing it. If you’re trying you’re not actually doing it.
Are you trying to keep your customers and team happy or are you actually doing it? One is all talk no walk the other is walking the talk.
After an arduous journey from Perth to Brisbane and then a 3.5 hour drive to Hervey Bay the next morning with four girls including the wife we are greeted by a mature cheerful pilot enthusiastic to show us the whales and dolphins on our flight to the island.
On arrival the accommodation would be classed as average yet comfortable, its not 5 Star as we know it but when we look past the niceties and take in the priceless beauty of this natural island you begin to forget about the artificial comforts and tap into the rejuvenating energy of nature.
But then bad service, poor food and yes sir no sir I’m here for a pay check would ruin this experience. However, on our first day I see a turtle twice and then take out my eldest daughter on the provided glass bottom baords for kids, we snorkel out on a mission to find another, a fathers promise to see that smile on his precious child. Ten minutes into the water we spot a green turtle undisturbed by our intrusion used to the glares of passers by, my daughter leaned over the board and gently stroked the back, “daddy, daddy, I touched the turtle”, she shouted. Some of the turtles loved this on the island; she was living inside the fairy tale. Did it matter about the missing garden pool or the fancy light switches or not having television in our room? We serenaded this beautiful creature for several priceless minutes with my daughter confidently swimming in the water launching herself off her board. Like in every story there was a moment of tragedy when she brushed her foot on some coral negating the advice to wear flippers and never expecting to go into the shallow clear water to be lured by this magical creature.
Our visit to reception was greeted with genuine care and affection and offered a iodine wipe to clean the minor cut and she listened to my daughter telling her amazing story even though she had heard it probably every day from countless guests who shared the same excitement, a place where the adults let go of their ego and bring out the kid in them in moments of awe inspired by mantas, humpback whales and endless array of colorful fish, turtles, sea birds, sea eagles soaring high in the sky topped by the stars in the sky shining brighter then the city lights – no where to be seen!
I see the Island Chief, a happy content bursting with energy sort of fellow, greeting guests at every opportunity. One minute he is taking the tray into the kitchen the next he is in the dive shop, the glass bottom boat or the landing strip diffusing his infectious smile to arriving and departing guests.
The entire team was a reflection of the chief’s values, customer service with a smile and never a no for an answer. In the dive shop we were greeted with helpful hints and advice about the reef and equipment even the kids were warmly looked after, nothing was any trouble. The guest relations / tour guides were equally passionate and excited with each tour and expedition they lead even the daily fish feeding was kept to a champagne popping high standard. They even took photos of me snorkeling and volunteered to email them to me! Wow that’s what I call Exceptional Service!
We did notice some tired arrivals sometimes carrying the hidden luggage of their problems and then as if my magic they leave transformed happy and smiling. Most visitors, whether for a day trip or few days would say, “ I wish we stayed longer”!
All the Team has this exuberating energy and a willingness to help. You never hear a No, anything is possible and everything is fun.
Mark twain said, ‘ my life was a series of catastrophes most of which never happened.” With so many distractions such as emails, social media, work and home one of the major challenges today is being present. Ever had a moment when after someone finished their sentence you were wondering what they just said? Steven Covey mentions that you can be efficient with systems and things but you cannot be efficient with people. Most often the difference was that most of the team loved being in the island. They were genuinely fascinated and interested in what you had to say! Isn’t that why we have two ears and one mouth? They were present and listened you to your greatness without wanting to jump in. A happy team that ignites a Synergistic environment.
And then our last day arrived, we wish we stayed longer too and then Just before departing the chief organized a quick back of house tour to show us the eco islands desalination plant and solar power station.
My only recommendation would be a Spa to ease away the muscles after all the tempting snorkeling, diving, volley ball, table tennis, coconut bowling, Island Bingo and numerous activities on offer.
Thank you Nathan, Emma, Kim, Chris, Island Chief Andreas and the lovely girl in reception Jessica!
We have honoured Lady Elliot Island with our September Magic T.E.A.M.’er Award.