Most of the time I talk about how important it is for us to stay in Partner mode with others around us.
At the risk of being judged on my ethical parking choices, I want to share an example where someone remained Partner with me and the positive impact I felt being on the receiving end of a Partner in Action.
It was the beginning of the summer season here in Switzerland and a beautiful sunny Saturday morning. I was driving over to meet up with friends. For multiple reasons, finding a parking spot near the lake was nearly impossible (please note this is my justification for what I did next!).
I decided to be bold and park my car in a restaurant car park for a few hours. Even though I have a neon green car that doesn’t exactly blend in, I was relatively confident they wouldn’t notice I wasn’t a patron of their establishment. When I finally returned several hours later, I started walking towards my car and saw a note under the windscreen wiper. I remember sucking in some air and thinking “oh no, I got a parking ticket! How on earth did they figure out that I wasn’t one of their clients??!”. When I finally got close enough to read the note, I was astounded. Instead of a parking ticket I got the following note:
Here’s the rough translation from French:
At the beginning of the busy season, we take this opportunity to remind you that parking in this location is strictly reserved for clients of our restaurant. If this is not the case, thank you for remembering this in the future, otherwise we would unfortunately be obligated to issue a ticket. Thank you for your understanding.
What astounded me was how gracious they were, when I was clearly the one in the wrong. It was a perfect example of staying in Partner while delivering bad news. I knew I was guilty, yet they requested different behaviour without slapping my hand. The impact it had on me was first relief and second, a very good feeling and positive impression of this restaurant. I can tell you the next time I parked in that parking lot, I was as a happy, paying customer!