If you’ve watched the trajectory of Starbucks, it’s jaw dropping. At one time, they were opening up a new store a week, which is mind boggling by most standards. And Starbucks is selling much more than coffee. They’re selling an atmosphere, an experience, a place to be with friends and even a status. But that’s another blog post.
Starbucks is all about great service, both to their customers and to their employees.
Several years ago, I saw a documentary on Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, in which he talked about his father losing his job and his benefits when Howard was a child. That made a profound impact on him and is the reason why every Starbucks employee has health care.
I live in Nashville where it seems every waiter/waitress, store clerk… is a musician doing other jobs to pay the bills. Healthcare benefits make Starbucks a place where starving musicians want to work.
In the documentary, Mr. Schultz was asked what he does when he visits one of his many stores. His answer was simply to catch someone doing something right. Think about it. Most of us think that our job as a leader is to improve what those we lead are doing, which is done by making sure they are doing it correctly. When translated, that just means watching for mistakes to correct. But what if we were looking for what they were doing right and then making sure we told them, and everyone else, about it. I don’t know about you, but I am more motivated by the affirmation than correction.
In “Creating Magic,” by Lee Cockerell, former Disney VP, he talks about “giving away the free fuel.” In other words, what fuels people is affirmation! And it’s FREE! It costs you nothing to encourage people, affirm their work, and to tell them when they are doing something right. And what most leaders miss is that it helps others know what is important and what good work looks like.
So this Sunday, walk around church trying to “catch people doing something right,” and then tell them and everyone around them. Nothing feels better than a good word.
P.S. Another great quote from Mr. Schultz: Our mission statement about treating people with respect and dignity is not just words but a creed we live by every day. You can’t expect your employees to exceed the expectations of your customers if you don’t exceed the employees’ expectations of management.