This summer, Tim Horton’s introduced a new procedure where the person taking your order got a little more personal, “Hello my name is Debbie” were the words you heard as you drove up to the area where you initiated your first cup of java for the day. I waited for the new procedure to fall off but after several months the location I frequent has kept up the pace of being as warm and comforting as the products they serve.
Shift to small town New Brunswick. I had to visit recently on a family matter and stopped by the busy little Tim’s that has graced the community of less than 1000 for about 10 years now. Even the old boys that used to hang out at the barber shop and local gas station have migrated up the hill to their new spot and are quite comfortable calling Tim’s home.
For the most part, East Coasters have a reputation for being pretty friendly but when I took a spin through to get my morning coffee I didn’t hear the “Hello my name is…” greeting. Inquisitive person that I am, I mentioned my story to the lady serving me at the window. Her response was something like “Yes, we got some CD down from Ontario but I can’t see us doing that.” She proceeded to get my order and left me with these final and sincere words,”You have a good day now honey pie!”Friendly enough wouldn’t you say?
For all of us that have tried to initiate new processes and procedures is there a lesson to be learned? I think so. We tend to create all encompassing policies because we are either afraid to or are not able to single out individuals causing us grief in some way. Do most hourly employees punch time cards because at some point everyone was fudging their hours or because a few were? Are trucking companies religious about measuring on time performance because they were always late or because they messed up less than 5% of the time? Has anyone created a long list of rules and regulations for everyone because a small percentage of people are doing the equivalent of “peeing in the pool”…and does that sign on the wall actually stop those individuals from doing so in the future?”
I remember a blackout happening in Fredericton, NB where I went to university. At first it was “yahoo” with speeding cars everywhere but within a few hours there was self managed order without a street light or policeman in sight. In “Good to Great”, the author promotes self managed order as the key to business sustainability. It’s a leap of faith that requires a huge amount of trust. For the time being it seems the rotten apple continues to set the environment for the basket.
Lee’s quote for the day
“For the most part, the only thing tougher than initiating change is being on the receiving end of it.”