As I waited for my change from the gal at the first window, I noticed a big one-year calendar posted behind her that had a little car icon on each day of the year. I was pretty sure I knew what it was for, but I decided to ask her anyways (these kinds of questions usually spark blog posts).
“Yeah, those are for like keeping track of like the peak season throughout the year so we can see how many cars use the drive-thru.. As you can see, my managers haven’t been doing a very good job! Have a good day!” She chuckled as I pulled away, presumably thinking of the silly guy who just asked about the calendar, or her silly managers who just don’t do a very great job.
I have no idea who’s task it is to fill out the calendar. I don’t know how important the drive-thru calendar is to the future of the place. What I do know is the lack of team work, the passing of the blame, and the unwillingness to be the person that does work that matters is not only prevalent today; it’s the status quo. How did we get to this place where ‘average’ is now a dangerous footing? Seth tells us in his typical, brilliant way in this post.
The race to the cheapest, or quickest, or most efficient is a lost cause. Someone, somewhere, is already doing all of that better than we can. The race to the top is the only option we have left. And up at the top, we make connections. We build relationships through trust. We build trust through delivering on our promises. We make promises in our marketing. And our best marketing tool is us. The way we work, the way we treat others, and the way we show that we care are now the most powerful tools in our tote. That’s our art, and art is what people are paying for now.
If we can embrace this new economy, we change everything about our industrial mindset. We smooth out our work process; not because it doesn’t work, but because we understand that a smooth, profitable company is better equipped to make more art than a company that’s not as efficient. We convey to our people the value of that art (and the fact that it’s the only future they or their company have), and they begin to see and work to reflect that. And, we get to charge more to the reap the benefits of the value we’re adding. It’s a virtuous cycle.
And as an employee, leader, or business owner, it’s the only option we have left if we’re out to succeed.
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