Answer the question "What's in it for me?"
Leslie, assistant manager for a restaurant chain in Yakima, Washington, told Session 4B of the Leadership Development Lab:
"In 2000 I became the facility manager for a big gas station and convenience store company. I had been a restaurant manager for the past eight years, but didn't know anything about fuel stations or convenience stores. Taking over a store that was not doing well was quite the struggle, especially since I felt I didn't know what I was doing. It took about two years for the station to start making profits, and get the employees on board and doing the right things to help grow the business. The company had a mystery shop program. Twice a month, a secret shopper would come in, purchase items, asks questions, check out our facility for customer service and cleanliness. The company wanted to ensure every store was adhering to company standards. No one in the store knew who the person was or when they were there until we got our score. The corporation had a nationwide to send retailers from the top performing stores to Las Vegas for an allexpense paid week of company celebrations for the winners. They would get to go to shows, fancy dinners, and mixers with other retailers from the company.
"In 2004 I decided we were going to win the trip to Vegas. We had to get all 24 mystery shop scores of 90% or better to qualify. In the beginning of January, I sat with my team and told them we were GOING to win this year's mystery shop reward. They all knew what to do, how to do it, and we were GOING to do it. In March, we got an 83% and our chances of winning were gone. January 2005 came and I sat down with my team, TOLD them we were GOING to win the mystery shop award, and if didn't score 90% on a mystery shop, there would be consequences. The first four months were wonderful. We were averaging 94% mystery shop scores. I was elated, and then in May, 87%. Another year, no Vegas.
"As I sat with my team again in January 2006, I tried something new. I asked them what we could do as a team to get the mystery shop award. They thought they were doing everything right and didn't think there was anything else they could do – we either won or we didn't. I heard a lot of ambivalence towards MY award. Then a member of my team said those famous words, 'What's in it for us?' They were right;
I was going to Vegas, they would stay home and work. We sat for an extra hour that day brainstorming ideas of what they would gain, how I could make it as important to them as it was to me. Their ideas worked. WE won the award with a yearly mystery shop average score of 93.87%.
"The lesson I learned from this experience is that I have to make it about the team, not about me and what I want or need. The action I call you to take is to be the cheerleader, not the dictator. The benefit you will gain is your team will be more enthusiastic to accomplish your goals, and you will achieve whatever you are working towards."
"Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect."
- Oren Arnold
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