Point to Ponder:
Everybody can be great... because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. -Martin Luther King Jr.
STORY LINE: by George Samuel
How many times have you asked yourself if your boss knows the challenges you face when accomplishing your job? A new reality show caught my attention after the Super Bowl this year that sought to answer that question. My interest was piqued. The premise of the show was simple: take a high level company executive and stick them in a front line job for a week. See how they respond, what they learn, and how they react in the working environment that they themselves often manage. Their goal was also simple: find effective methods to improve company operations over the course of the week. What comes out of that week is not only just a lesson in management but also in empathy by being in another person's shoes. The show had me hooked and over the course of the season I took notes on the observations I found to be the most beneficial in motivating others to work to their highest potential.
- Employees can inspire management and vice versa: Igor, an immigrant from Kazakhstan (please refrain from making Borat jokes), drove a distribution truck for 7-Eleven. Joseph DePinto, 7-Eleven's CEO, was assigned to work with Igor. Through observations and conversations with Igor, Mr. DePinto was actually inspired to become a better executive for his employees.
- The story of young hardworking employee inspiring Dave Rife (before he was owner of White Castle) to enroll culinary school and then start his own restaurant.
- People & relationships is the “secret sauce” for successful franchises: Both 7-Eleven and 1800 flowers.com executives saw that their most successful stores had wonderful people providing exceptional customer service to their patrons, in particular a woman named Dolores who went above and beyond while working for 7-Eleven. “That’s why we’re selling 2500 cups of coffee a day,” said DePinto to the cameras when asked about 7-Eleven's success. DePinto also added, “Not because we have great coffee, but because we have people like Dolores”.
Recently, senior managers at Southwest Airlines spend a “Day in the Field” once each quarter on the front lines with their employees. This tradition was started by Herb Kelleher (founder and CEO) himself by working on the day prior to Thanksgiving, typically the busiest travel day in the year. What has emerged is that Southwest Airlines has won numerous awards for exceptional customer service. This happened because their executives take time to experience their company first-hand as an employee and as a customer.