Saving the Best for Last

InTouch - Newsletter - #70

Welcome to the seventieth edition of “In-Touch”. As always, I would love to continue the conversation so please let me know what you think.

Story of the Week: "Saving the Best for Last"

This week I’ve been reading The Diary of a CEO by Steven Bartlett (and I’m obviously not the only one – it’s currently the Number 1 best-selling non-fiction book in the UK) and, among what he proposes as the “33 Laws of Business and Life”, I was especially fascinated by what he calls the Peak-End Rule.

The Peak-End Rule (first developed by Daniel Kahneman and Dr. Barbara Fredrickson) essentially states that our memories of an experience are heavily influenced by two critical moments: the peak and the end. These moments colour our perception, trumping the average of all the others during the event. Whether an experience is positive or negative, these two moments will shape our lasting impression.

Imagine a rollercoaster ride that is thrilling yet has a rather slow, disappointing ending. Now, compare that with a rollercoaster that starts off slowly but finishes with an exhilarating drop. Which one will you remember more vividly? Chances are, it's the second because, according to the Peak-End Rule, it’s the ending that packs a powerful punch in shaping our memory of an experience.

Over the last 20 years, I have offered a commemorative plaque to all participants in my workshops. Having givenout over 3,000 such plaques (costing €10 on average, as compared to €0.10 for a printed black-and-white diploma), I might be comparing a total cost of €30,000 with a possible €300. But I know that (a) these plaques now probably stand proudly in office libraries or behind leaders’ desks and (b) they came at the peak moment (right at the end of the workshop) and thus ended it in an even more positive way.

Understanding the Peak-End Rule helps us appreciate the power of moments in shaping our memories. If you are a business owner or manager, recognizing the influence of these critical junctures will lead not only to more memorable and satisfying experiences for your internal and external customers but to a better reputation and increased profitability for the company.

Words of Wisdom

“The neglect of duration combined with the peak-end rule causes a bias that favours a short period of intense joy over a long period of moderate happiness.” Daniel Kahneman

A Question to Ponder, dear friend.

“Can you share with us an example of how you have successfully implemented the Peak-End Rule in your business?”