I’m lucky. I have 3 different routes into work that each take about 20 minutes to travel.
It makes the morning drive a little more interesting ... standard highway commute, urban re-entry through some really nice neighborhoods, or cross a pretty river (the James) ... twice.
Each route has a Starbucks I occasionally like to order from on the way in. I’m a fan of their spinach feta wrap for breakfast (and so many other things about them).
Before they started taking mobile orders, I used to call as I was leaving my neighborhood and ask them to have it ready for me when I got there.
The people at two of the three locations did it happily, but one location would consistently tell me, “We don’t take phone orders.” After trying a few times, I just decided not to order from Starbucks on the days I took that particular route. (They were always a little slower there too.)
Then the app came out (a wonderful thing!) and mobile ordering became a standard for Starbucks. So, I decided I’d give my less than Smovish Starbucks another try.
On my first visit, I learned that particular team likes to keep the mobile orders behind the counter (unlike the other two busy stores). This forces an interaction that can add waiting time and be disruptive to other customers.
I asked them why they didn’t put the orders out for easy customer access. They seemed annoyed and told me something like, “We want to be sure everyone gets the right thing.”
I let it go because I figured mobile ordering was new to them and they’d eventually see the value in giving mobile customers immediate access to their food and drinks.
On the next visit, after waiting for them to recognize I was standing there hoping to get my order from behind the counter, I recommended putting out a small basket for food orders like I’d seen in another store ... or just making a nice designated area that was easy for customers to grab and go (like the image to the left from an actual store).
Now they really didn’t like me. At that point, it was clear they wanted me out of the store. It was uncomfortable for everyone.
I enjoy Starbucks and continue to buy from them ... just not at that location.
The experience had me thinking about the reason this particular store might be different from the others (just like I often wonder why some flight attendants are wonderful and some aren't) ... and the reason any organization might allow itself to have a team of people who does anything other than try to make a better experience for the customer ( to make good things happen for other people).
See below for my conclusion (don’t miss it if you lead people ... or hope to one day).
It’s always the leader.
We try to hire the right people. We do our best to develop and grow those people (by Leading Simply). And if it doesn’t work out, we need to let them go.
Why wouldn’t it work out?
We might make a hiring mistake to begin with by rushing the process or being inattentive at certain moments while we’re learning about them. Maybe we miss a lack of needed skills or we don’t catch an attitude glitch (they’re temperamental in difficult moments and drain teammates, they lack a sense of urgency, they don’t push for better, too much ego, etc.).
Or, we might not do a good and consistent job of a helping a solid person grow. Maybe they don’t want to accept the development (they’re uncoachable, their attitude sours over time).
Hire. Grow. Or, let go.
A lot of fun and challenging details inside those three points (many small things that can make a big difference) but when it comes to the people side of an organization, that’s the big-picture summary to a more enjoyable day for everyone.
Remember ... it’s always the leader. (Really.)