Management Tactic #46: The Easter Basket

When I was about 11 years old, my family piled into our minivan and took a trip down to Florida. It was spring break, and we were going to Disney World.

We stayed with my aunt and uncle in Florida for a few days over the Easter weekend. I remember being surprised at how little clothing women wore to church near the beach. Women didn’t dress like that at church in Virginia.

A typical Easter morning in the Stegmaier household involved hunting all over the house for your Easter basket, which was filled to the brim with candy and treats and gifts. This Easter was different, however. There was no treasure hunt. There was only a little candy. And only a tiny gift or two.

I was 11. And I was disappointed.

My parents most have noticed the expression on my face, and they asked what was wrong. I can’t remember exactly what I said, but it was something like:

“Well, I just thought that Easter was supposed to be special.”

I also might have said, “Is this it?” But I hope not.

Then my parents grew stern and pointed out the obvious: They were taking us to Disney World. And to Epcot! That was the present. It couldn’t even fit into the basket it was so big!

But it was too late. Little Jamey had already shown that he was a little brat who didn’t appreciate his parents’ generosity. And it stung, right away. Stung me and my parents.

Whenever Easter rolls around, I think about that day, that moment. This year I realized that there’s a leadership/management/marketing lesson to be learned from Jamey the Brat:

People don’t always realize all the gifts that you give them. So sometimes you need to make everything as obvious as possible.

Basically, put everything in the basket.

If my parents had put tickets to Disney World in the basket, I would have understood that it was part of the Easter package. That it was a huge present, bigger than any previous Easter.

A real life example where putting everything in the basket can be helpful: A few weeks ago, I received an estimate from a web designer regarding a website. There was no mention on the estimate about polling current users and administrators of the site, so I asked if she could add that onto the estimate.

“Oh,” she said. “The comes standard, so I didn’t put it on the estimate. But I guess I should.”

She most definitely should. That way when I decide to accept the proposal or not, I can be reminded of the robust level of service the website is receiving.

Sometimes stating the obvious and being completely transparent about what you offer can be a really good thing. Try it out. This Easter, remind the people in your life know how full their baskets are.