How to provide a “wow” experience even in the daily grind 

What does choosing to be extraordinary mean to you? I believe top achievers are always willing to commit to constant and never-ending improvement. If you want to be extraordinary in your professional life, then you must commit to asking yourself these kinds of questions daily:

• How can I make this program or strategy better?

• How can I give better service—to our patients, my colleagues, my superiors?

• How can I make this relationship with my coworker better?

• How can I bring more value to the organization as a whole?

Several years ago, I had the honor of being a guest of Dr. Nido Qubein, president of High Point University (HPU) in High Point, North Carolina, at the dedication of HPU’s School of Communication building. The university embraces and models its call to action, “Be Extraordinary.”

Its mission is for every student to receive an extraordinary education in a fun environment with caring people. The university’s holistic approach to education teaches students that being extraordinary is a choice. HPU even has a “Director of Wow” to foster a friendly, student-focused environment. It’s a position that Qubein explains as “finding the un-wow and making it wow.”

“When a student first visits a campus, you have three minutes to make an impression,” he says. “For the average student, it’s either ‘I feel at home’ or ‘Get me out of here!’ ” HPU is committed to making those first moments wonderful and spotlighting the campus as a place potential students want to return. They do this by underscoring the university’s extraordinary staff and exemplary coursework, and even its good food and safe campus. The student-first philosophy is intended to pay off in higher academic performance. A 2008 National Public Radio story quoted Qubein as saying, “When students know you care, they reward you by doing well in the classroom.”

Qubein has instituted “wow” cards that students or faculty can give to anyone who provides a “wow” experience. He and his team are committed to leaving a trail of tangibles like this that reinforce the HPU brand.

Are you the kind of person who leaves such a trail of tangibles? Do you consistently go the extra mile, over-deliver on your promises and deliver a “wow” experience? What kind of service would you provide if you put in more effort—even if that just means doing a task a little more cheerfully?

Imagine how your career could take off if you consistently did something outside your job description instead of doing just enough to maintain. In the healthcare realm, that something extra could mean brainstorming better strategies for engaging physicians with the supply chain, or researching ways to decrease patients’ wait times and increase their engagement. You could also volunteer to write a monthly column for your facility newsletter that examines a patient satisfaction survey question and assesses how your facility is addressing it, or create a fun plan for recognizing your colleagues’ achievements and “wow” moments.

You probably already know dozens of ways you could add value, but here are a few ideas for overturning those ordinary experiences in your professional life.

1. Pay attention. Many of us fall into a daily routine and simply go through the motions. Stop and pay attention to your colleagues and supervisors. Give people your undivided attention. When someone is talking to you, make eye contact, use body language and engage in conversation. A strong leader is one who values what others have to say. Show them you’re paying attention.

2. Go the extra mile. Choose to do something above and beyond your normal tasks. Pitch in to help a struggling team, compliment a coworker on a job well done or stay a little later to get an important task done.

3. Take action. Improvement and change require immediate action. Attend an educational seminar. Read a new book on business strategies. Or, better yet, ask a colleague in a different department to describe his or her job. Never stop reading or learning—be curious, ask questions and always consider new ways to improve.

Step out of your comfort zone today and do something to make your work life more extraordinary.

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Dale Smith Thomas

Dale Smith Thomas

Dale Smith Thomas, an international professional speaker and author, is the president and founder of Winners by Choice, Inc. She can be reached through her website, More Articles by This Author »