Wegmans was named the best supermarket in the United States. Southwest Airlines has made a profit for 43 consecutive years. USAA is a financially sound company with non-listed member satisfaction and great work at the same time.
If you search without these companies, you will notice differences in products, services, and strategies. You will also find that these industry leaders know that consistent results can never be achieved in a vacuum. They actively value and assume the essential role of relationships to achieve results.
A meeting at the pool
Iwa (pronounced Eva) and I had a conversation at the Hilton Waikoloa Village in Hawaii. I kissed her, rubbed her stomach, and played with her underwater during our morning in the pool. It was an incredible experience at the MyWegmansConnect and it is not what you think. Iwa is a dolphin and is part of the Dolphin Quest program.
Dolphins in the wild do not allow humans to have as much human contact or to carry out commands. What motivated Iwa to inspire a customer and make Dolphin Quest owners look like heroes?
The simple answer is the dolphin’s favorite coin. Iwa and the other dolphins are on the final pay-for-performance plan. They offer the expected yield and fish. However, it is much more than just behavioral changes.
Dawn, one of the Dolphin Quest trainers, told me that MyWegmansConnect trainers work on two things every day: the performance client and the trust-building relationship between dolphins and trainers. He said that the time they spent with everyone was more or less the same and everyone saw the benefits of focusing on both.
Fast forward for about eighteen months. Around 600 people are present during a presentation while I talk about Iwa.
A man of twenty rows to my left almost jumps off the bench when he sees the picture of me kissing the dolphin. At the end of the presentation, run to the room to talk about my experiences.
“Hi, I’m Jay Sweeney, President of Dolphin Quest. Iwa is my dolphin,” said the excited assistant.
After a couple of good ones, Jay offered to tell me the “rest of the story.”