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The Coaching Dept. Blog

Mad Nice!

One December my wife asked me what I would like for Christmas. I told her that I would rather have an experience than a thing. I have been blessed with a life of extraordinary experiences.

On a recent visit to Detroit, I was given an extraordinary experience. Our friends Matt and Molly took me to a restaurant called Mad Nice. I thought I was going out for a nice dinner with dear friends, but I was truly going out for an experience that has stuck with me.

What I didn’t know before I arrived that this restaurant had only been open for two weeks. From the moment we walked in I felt good. The greeting on arrival was special, the way the décor looked and felt was special. As I had time to take everything in, I was amazed by the attention to detail that seemed to go into every aspect of the experience. Since two of us arrived early we started the evening at the bar. Our bartender was wonderful and when we found out he studied chemistry, it made perfect sense. The care, detail, and science that went into the cocktails were evident. Like every employee we met, he was a passionate fan of the concept of Mad Nice. When the three of us left the bar, we were prepared for our continuing extraordinary experience.

The culinary roots were Italian, the vibe was Californian. You could see the results of design in every detail. The food experience took me back to a family dinner in Italy. The service was professional but very fun and friendly. We watched a manager adjust the lighting in mid service, not to change the lighting levels but literally change the color of the room. I made a sound of joy at one point in the evening and our server suggested I make it again and make sure the kitchen heard it. When I did, about a dozen kitchen staff simultaneously picked up bells and rang them. It was a Monday night and there was energy, fun, joy, laughter, and passion for the experience that was shared by staff and guests alike.

Design was evident in everything. The architectural design, the interior design, the menu design, the design of the training that we heard about, the design of the soundtrack, the design of the signage, the design of the uniforms, the design of the lighting, the design of the experience.

We felt the impact of extraordinary design coming to life.

Of course, one of the biggest factors in making this experience so profound was beyond the design of the restaurant itself, was that I was there with Matt and Molly. I am sure if I was there with someone else it might not have felt the same. The three of us arrived ready to receive and appreciate each of the details that had been designed.

It was a magical evening.

Now I will take off my hospitality hat and put on my coaching hat.

The people that were creating this restaurant were starting from scratch, they were starting from nothing and creating something that is not exactly like anything else. What a gift it is to take a blank canvas and put whatever you want on it.

The challenge for individuals, or organizations, or even and industry is to get past the belief that since we are not working with a blank canvas, there is not a lot we can do to change the design.

Believing that this is the way I or we have always been, can get in the way of how you want to be.

We either live the life of our design or the design of others.

In the early stages of life, a lot of our design was in the hands of our parents, our siblings, our peers, our teachers, or our religious leaders. In the early stages of our lives, we didn’t have a lot of design skills, now we do.

When opening a new restaurant, you need to design everything. When looking at a life, an organization, or an industry there may be many things that were designed 25 to 125 years ago that have created a foundation, but that does not mean that the opportunity to design is no longer there.

Extraordinary lives, organizations and industries are constantly open to redesign and reinvention.

Are you open to a little r or a BIG R, reinvention of you?

You have the opportunity, but no obligation to change how you think, feel and act.

You can change your architecture, your esthetic, your soundtrack, your lighting, your training, your menu, your energy, your perspective, your goals, your outcomes, your influences, your geography, anything you want or nothing at all.

It is yours to design or it is yours to reinvent.

If you are interested in spending some time with design and reinvention, contact us and we will send you some tools that we created that might help.

As I reflect on all the details that the owners of this restaurant designed, I was most curious about there thoughts on naming it. Whether naming a child or a restaurant the name chosen will be a big part of its identity.

That brings us to our name (and a little grammar lesson)

The word “mad” is traditionally an adjective, but here it is an adverb, something that drives home how very “nice”—and crazy obsessed with extraordinary food and hospitality—we are.

Don’t believe you’ve experienced anything Mad Nice? You haven’t yet.

Come see—and taste—for yourself.

Hella Cool     Stupid Good     Mad Nice.

Thoughtful design went into how this restaurant will exist in the world and how successful it will be.

Thoughtful design will determine how you will exist in the world and how successful and fulfilled you will be.

Kevin MacDonald and Shelley MacDougall are the coaches for CMAA. They can be reached toll free at 1-866-822-3481 or or

About the author

Kevin MacDonald

Kevin MacDonald founded Clarity Success Coaching in 2000. Kevin is deeply passionate about his work with his clients and loves living on purpose to assist those he works with to elevate their lives and live to their fullest potential. Kevin MacDonald is a Coach and Facilitator, a Communicator and a Storyteller. As a Coach he initiates action from within the people he touches. Kevin believes that knowing who you are is critical to your success. Kevin's business and management background combined with his exceptional Coaching skills make him an asset in any people development initiative.

Kevin is a member of the International Coach Federation and a graduate of Teresia LaRocque Coaching and Associates Abundant Practice Program. Kevin has received his Coach training from Coach U. Before he began coaching he spent over 20 years as a manager in the hospitality industry. His focus now as a coach is to inspire his clients and help them lean the skills in that they can use to change their lives. Kevin empowers his clients so that they can take the actions that will start to change their behavior so they begin see the results they are wanting in life.

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