Catching People in the act .. of doing something right
I was reminded on a recent day out in the city of the power of this enduring principle, and of the potentially huge benefits to my own clients.
This happened in two parts. The first was an experience in a well known clothes brand, one who has in the past (rightly) prided itself on the vibrancy; attentiveness and awareness of its team members.
Almost at the front of the line to pay, I am behind a complicated customer and a disinterested lonely assistant. Utterly disinterested in serving her customer properly; in the growing line of people waiting to pay; in actually noticing and getting help and ultimately in the fact that her fingernail extensions meant she could not carry out the most fundamental of tasks like using the EPOS or replacing its till roll.
Seconds from walking out and dumping $100 of clothes, the seas parted and I was finally at the counter. Once paid, invited to give an email address, I pointedly declined saying I didn’t want to delay other customers further. And having explained which way up a till roll needed to go, to actually print, I had to decline the offer of a second attempt at a receipt for the same reason.
Not an iota of concern; not a moment of awareness that as a customer, I had more concern for the customers than this unfortunate business and its team.
From there to cocktails and food, and it could not have been more different.
A largely unassuming venue, in grand central concourse, my expectations no more than a drink served and some easy food.
But from the moment of entry, attentiveness was the watchword. A sense that we were being quietly cossetted. Now this is my sector, hospitality, and I cannot help but observe. Every server quietly effective; confident and aware, smiles when smiles were needed and when not …. just simple awareness. Not a moment of frustration, not a moment of visible stress, not a moment of feeling left alone.
As I sat watching this theatre play out, the choreography, my sense from my experience that there was somewhere a controlling influence, an unseen hand became palpable. And then gliding almost unseen I see a quiet, unassuming manager, exuding the same calm, gently touching the tiller when needed, a shoulder tap here; a raised eyebrow there, more than a manager in truth, a major domo; a conductor.
I am compelled to speak to him, to tell him what I see and what it means to me to recognise what he does. Initially a look of concern, normally a small problem or an issue is the only thing we speak to a manager about, but to see that look of mild concern develop into a beaming smile of satisfaction and pride was, and always is, priceless.
He knows he does a great job, he sees it every day, but to be ‘caught in the act of doing something so right’ is something every good employee, every good team member, every good manager, should experience often.
How much better to encourage success than criticise failure ! And make someone’s day along the way ….