Google has a phrase they use in their company, “French fry moments,” which they use to convey the concept of anticipating employees’ needs. The phrase and the concept came about after an executive saw a scene on the sitcom 30 Rock, wherein one of the characters, Tracy Jordan, becomes outraged after an employee brings him a burger but doesn’t include the fries he didn’t order, prompting Tracy to shout: “Where are the French fries I didn’t order? When will you learn to anticipate me?!”
I love the “French fry moments” idea for three reasons. First, it’s a great example of being inspired by an unusual, random source, the very essence of creative thinking. Secondly, it’s an example of using a playful name to capture an important concept. Using fun, memorable catchphrases is a great way for any company to strengthen their unique culture, and it’s a great way to encapsulate a concept succinctly and help it spread throughout an organization. And thirdly, and most importantly, it captures a key principle when it comes to building a great business – anticipating the needs of customers, employees, and teammates. Isn’t the essence of great service, after all, anticipating what someone needs sometimes even before they know they need it themselves?
So what workplace concepts could your company embody in memorable phrases? And what are some key “French fry moments” in your organization that you could implement consistently, recognize, and celebrate?
Michael Kerr is a Hall of Fame international business speaker who speaks on inspiring leadership, workplace culture, and humor in the workplace. His latest book is called, The Humor Advantage: Why Some Businesses Are Laughing All the Way to the Bank!
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