October 28, 2009
Recently I had the opportunity to observe a great business. In the process, I learned lessons around planning and execution that I want to apply to my own business. I want to share one of those lessons with you now. In building and implementing your plan, make sure you have included a process for checking all aspects of the business on an ongoing basis and insure they stay in sync with the vision.
While on vacation in California, I happened upon an outstanding BBQ restaurant. Right from the start I was impressed. With flyers in the hotel lobby, top billing on the recommended list in the room, a "Ya gotta check it out" from the desk clerk, and an "Ooh, Yeah" from our friends, it became a must do part of our trip.
The next night we changed plans and went for ribs. We become instant fans. The lot was full. The place was festively decorated, Live blues streamed from the building. And the doors opened as we approached with a smiling hostess welcoming us. Just inside the door, the take-out counter had a line. This was going to be special.
It was obvious the owners had put a lot of thought into this. They recognized which aspects were critical for success and mastered the implementation of each. They had a great neighborhood marketing campaign. They understood the benefits of good ambiance and relevant decor. They knew how to play to their concept.
We were quickly seated and greeted by a friendly waiter. He explained the restaurant's history and suggested options for maximizing the menu. We discussed how great the place was and we hadn't even ordered.
The food came, and all I can say is, Wow!! It was some of the best barbeque ever. Even my non-meat eating friend ordered a half-rack to take home.
We were thrilled, and yet, as we paid the bill and walked out, we couldn't help reflecting on one element of the night. One facet of the service was so bad, we left, not talking just about the great food, but rather also the bad service. And it was only one person. Was it possible for one person to ruin an otherwise excellent time?
As good it seemed, as much as they had thought things through, this one person could have ruined the experience. This person was so bad, the great work done in advertising, marketing, decor, cooking, and ambiance was almost overwhelmed by her impact. While the overall service was excellent, this one person, through her attitude, her performance, and general rudeness, caused us to walk out, not raving about the great ambiance and food, but rather her rude behavior. When recounting the trip later, we couldn't get through the story without adding our view of this person's performance.
These leaders had thought of everything. They had set a great vision. They had built a nice plan. They had put it all in play. They forgot, however, to inspect all aspects of the business, and insure that everything, and everyone, was in sync with the vision. They forgot that one person, or process, or issue, could undermine all their other efforts.
What about your business? Have you inspected all facets? Have you checked to insure that all parts are in sync? If not, get to it. The ribs are waiting.
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