I was playing golf with 3 friends. We started around 10 a.m. on a Sunday… a busy day at golf courses when the weather is good.

At the start of the 9th hole (just around lunchtime), Nick suggested calling ahead to the snack bar and ordering something to eat. The thought was they could have the food ready for us when we got there, so we could keep moving … not back up everyone behind us.

Good idea. Unfortunately, it didn’t make a difference. Our food came out slowly and at different times.

Hungry Sign

I’m sure we could have ordered it a little earlier to better our chances, but what if there was a small sign on the 8th and 9th holes to encourage people to call/text in their orders earlier? What if a menu was there to make it easier to know the choices? Wouldn’t more food and drinks be sold (increased sales/ increased enjoyment)? What else could be done?

Looking in through the window as we waited, we saw the staff moving relatively slowly and with little sense of urgency. It reminded me of the scene that prompted me to write my book Smile & Move.

How often is the staff reminded to have a sense of urgency (for their customers, for each other)? How often do they remind themselves? Wouldn’t it be more fun to work in a lively environment? What’s on the walls to remind them it’s about the customer? Could the managers make the work a training ground for attitude and work ethic for future jobs? Might that help people get more excited about the work? How many customers might admire their work and potentially want to hire them for their organizations?

Ketchup Packet
As the food came out, each of us fixed up our sandwiches (ketchup, mustard, dressing, and such). Unfortunately, there was only a tiny counter there at the window … less than optimal.

Why not make a larger space available by putting a table there to the side … a nice table? It clears the counter and window area and makes it easier for everyone. What else could be done?

With all that’s going on in the world, I understand most of this is no big deal. We were lucky on many levels (to be able to play golf, to enjoy the company of friends and good food). But with all that’s going on in the world, if our work isn’t helping some of those situations directly, shouldn’t we respect the work we’re given (or earn) and do it well? Shouldn’t we be more committed to those we serve (our customers, our colleagues)?

Work is love made visible. - Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese poet

As our used wrappers and packets piled up, we looked for a trash can, so we didn’t have to hand our trash back to the people working behind the counter. The closest was about 30 yards away.

Why not put a trash can right next to the window?

Once we’d prepared our food, each of us sat on the grass next to the 10th tee and started to eat (fast) so we could get back to playing as quickly as possible.

What if there was a picnic table placed next to the tee for just this situation? Maybe one in the shade and one in the sun for added comfort in different types of weather. What if the food was prepared in a way that made it easier for people to walk with it as they ate? Pre-cut and in a bowl or bag? “Would you like your order prepped for walking, riding, or relaxing on the 10th?”

Picnic Table

By the time we all had a chance to finish, we’d let two groups play through (take our place in the queue of golfers moving around the course).

Again, not a big deal, I understand. We were lucky to be there.

It was the opportunities to shine that got to me (low-hanging fruit opportunities to shine… easy stuff).

Inspire Your Team to Shine. A 20-minute Reminder to Happily Serve. Get the book.

We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about … when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

– C.S. Lewis, Irish writer

What if the team behind the counter got together Suggestion Box and asked themselves how they could improve things … for their customers and for themselves? What if a manager prompted that discussion every couple of weeks? (Every couple weeks is the key … it’s part of the ‘connect’ and ‘involve’ pieces of Leading Simply.) What if you did? “What can we do to push and improve things around here (212 things… what’s 212)? What are we hearing and seeing from customers? How can we make it more enjoyable for them? How can we make it more enjoyable for ourselves?”

Wouldn’t that be more fun for everyone?

Sometimes we get caught up in just doing our job. I do it and I write and talk about how people shouldn’t do it. (Crazy, man.)

But if we just do our job, how can we reasonably expect to be identified by others as someone they’d like on their team … to be given more responsibility and opportunities that make our work more meaningful … to earn the loyalty of a customer … the promotion … the added compensation … and the additional choices that come from all of it?

A more enjoyable day for everyone ... that's the goal.

Two more thoughts…

I also use the ‘opportunity to shine’ way of thinking as an optimistic reminder when I need to bounce back from something I did poorly or when I’m in a bad spot. It’s a favorite of my son’s to use when we’re playing golf together and I hit my drives into the other fairways. “Just an opportunity to shine, Dad. Just another opportunity to shine.” At least he’s listening. 😉

Golf gives us so many wonderful lessons for our lives (at work, at home). It’s a game of details … a game that shows us how the small things can make a big difference. To learn how to use our 212 the extra degree message (what’s 212?) for a golf meeting, click here.