The Power of a Little WOW!

Organizational culture Organizational leadership Respect


Key Point: I’m a huge fan of the little “WOW” and the positive impact it can have on people every day. I think it does require somewhat of a self-nudge to execute on the idea. Ideally, we wake up thinking about what contributions we want to make and then confirm the results by recording them in our continuous contribution journal before we call it a night. (I know many of you do this virtually rather than on paper). I wonder what the exponential impact might be if we made a point of looking to add just one little “WOW” to that list? 

Our company has 10 stated values we call the “ATBs.” One of them is about constantly seeking ways to bring “WOW” to customers and each other. When we get together with new hires during what we call “Culture Day,” we talk about what it means to accomplish this. Sometimes the “WOW” stories are the “BIG WOW;” people literally doing something that is over the top, jaw dropping, remarkable. As an example, we had one of our team members put on a hazmat suit and enter a court room to help a customer get vital banking documentation signed. After a disasterous flood, we had busloads of our team members volunteer for days, digging peoples’ houses out the residual mud. The “BIG WOW” stories are plentiful and legendary in our company. We’re very proud of them and they help define the essence of who we are.

What we may not fully appreciate, however, is the additional power of becoming a culture defined by daily “little WOWS.” A movement of “little WOWs” would build upon the belief that everyone really matters and reinforce our commitment to really SEE each other. And it confirms the notion that people remember us most for how we make them feel. 

During Culture Day we play a video that demonstrates how one of our bankers practiced all of our 10 ATBs to make a couple of our customers’ lives much richer and happier. We see how our teammate’s actions had an unbelievable, life altering impact on these people. It almost always chokes me (and the rest of the audience) up when I watch it. After the video, 130 of the new hires decided to do a little “WOW” for that teammate, by sending her flowers at work that very day. Yes, delivering this little “WOW” involved a modest amount of money, but in most cases small “WOWs” can be free. It is usually an act of appreciation and acknowledgement. Think what might happen if we all did just one little “WOW” each day? It might cause a “WOW” revolution? 

Character Moves:

  1. Every day between now and the rest of the year, I’m going to look to add at least one intentional act of “WOW” to my daily contribution list. I just think it will be personally gratifying. I’ll just take that little extra step to really SEE someone and “WOW” them in a small way. 
  2. Would you care to join me? Why not start a little “WOW” revolution out there? How great would that be for all of us?

A little “WOW” in The Triangle,


One Millennial View: I’d like to see how many people believe they work in companies that encourage “little WOWs,” let alone any real “WOWs” at all. It’s sad to think that too many “WOWs” out there just consist of, “wow!! I don’t loath my job!” But, now that we’re aware there are organizations that do care about their employees as well as cultures that “see” and “wow” workers, everyone can be inspired to contribute to that standard… And if it doesn’t exist where you work, maybe that little “wow revolution” can start with you.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis