I just had a very disappointing experience that reinforced one of my longest-standing personal standards…that of simply doing whatever is necessary to get the job done regardless of whether or not the task is in your job description.
We went to lunch at a restaurant that used to be one of the top dining spots in Taipei. We have been there before and had a fabulous experience, so expectations were high.
♥ The restaurant manager greeted us and escorted us to our table…her job was done.
♥ The young lady who took our meal order was gracious and efficient…she did her job.
♥ A couple of other wait staff brought our dishes as they were prepared…they did their jobs.
♥ The young fellow responsible for removing empty dishes did so quickly and efficiently…he did his job.
Then it happened. Our (petite) teapot was empty…
⊗ The restaurant manager walked by and saw that we had no tea…she kept on walking.
⊗ The young lady who took our meal order walked by and saw that we had no tea…she kept on walking.
⊗ The other wait staff noted that we had no tea…but we didn’t need another serving of food…they stood and looked at our table.
⊗ The young fellow responsible for removing empty dishes removed our empty plates and bowls…
I finally called out to the four wait staff now standing and looking and asked as politely as I could muster if someone could refill our teapot.
One of the quartet broke away from the herd, came over, removed the teapot, took it to the back of the dining room, placed it on a counter, and called out to another young lady lurking behind the scenes (I would assume) for just such an occurrence. She appeared, removed the offending article, and disappeared.
Ten minutes later, she reemerged with our now-refilled teapot, delivered it to our table, and vanished.
Then it happened about 20 minutes later…our (petite) teapot was empty…
Ditto the above.
What’s the moral of this story, you ask?
Each of the above cast members has a specific job as (apparently) defined by the restaurant’s powers-that-be. And, either by dictate or by choice, each one does exactly what his or her job description defines as a duty.
“Efficiency” experts would have us marching to the mantra of “if everyone does his job, the job will get done.” And that’s valid in general…until the issue of customer service raises its hand to get our attention.
Here’s where…in successful companies…the focus shifts…from “I’m doing my job” to “I’m doing my job as a member of a team.”
Big difference here.
The former approach is task-oriented… “What incremental contribution can I make to the project at hand by doing my job?”
The latter is results-oriented… “How does my role within the organization contribute to our overall and lasting success?
I recall so vividly spotting the president of a company I worked for years ago washing dirty dishes in the staff break room. When I asked him why he was doing that menial task, his response was, “How can I expect others to care if I don’t care myself?”
I’ve observed folks at companies for which I worked or which I happened to be visiting since that time, and I’ve arrived at a very informal research conclusion:
“Those companies where every single employee sees him- or herself as a member of a seamless team of contributors are the companies that will realize sustainable success because every single member of that company cares.”
How about YOU???