Tina R. Macon (MA, CBA, CEQC), Founder, President and Senior Consultant of AllMac & Associates, discusses how an everyday coffee shop visit revealed an example of Operational Excellence.
Tina has more than 20 years’ experience in the field of Human Resources and Organizational Development assisting organizations in realigning and successfully developing high performing teams to meet organizational goals and objectives. Her WBENC-Certified firm, AllMac & Associates, is a leader in “Connecting People, Processes & Productivity.”
You never know where and when you will encounter examples of Operational Excellence. Often it’s revealed that Operational Excellence is at play by a customer experiencing a “surprise and delight” moment. In other situations, a negative customer experience is what points out quite the opposite—that a company would be well served to examine their operations and people management to do better for customers and for the benefit of their business.
Operational Excellence is an attitude of working with the distinct intent of showing a consistent, clear, and passionate message of how what you do matters.
An unexpected encounter with operational excellence
Recently, I met “Mike” who was working at a well-known coffee shop. He was very friendly, talkative and even paid for my cup of chai tea latte because the associate waiting on me was someone I knew. He said, “any friend of hers is a friend of mine—it’s on me.” The workers all seemed to love Mike and called his name frequently to answer a question or help fix a problem.
As I was leaving the coffee shop, I thanked him again for “making my day” with his generosity. He asked me if I had a minute to talk and I happily obliged. He wanted me to know that the reason he treated me to my chai tea latte was because of the way his company treats him.
This is a second career for Mike, after retiring five years ago. At the urging of his (at home) CEO’s request to find something to do with his spare time, he decided to find part-time work. The company quickly recognized Mike’s positive approach to his work as well as his passion for excellence in how he treated not only customers but everyone he worked with.
Mike turned down management roles with the company because he wanted to be an “ordinary” employee. That is, until he came across a manager that changed his perspective about the company. Mike appreciated how his manager valued, talked to and showed appreciation for the staff and how the staff enjoyed working “with” not “for” this manager. When this particular manager asked him to consider a management role, he said yes because he knew that he would be valued and supported.
It became clear to me that this manager’s style of leadership has become contagious across the organization. The pride among the employees in the shop, how they treat customers, and how much passion they have left me with the impression that this must be an excellent place to work. They have earned a repeat customer in me!
Leadership starts with intent
As leaders, what type of energy and message do you want to share with those that you are entrusted to guide, coach, and train? What is your definition of Operational Excellence and is it the same message that your team is communicating to others?
In today’s job market, applicants are seeking out organizations that are intentional about Operational Excellence. Employees are leaving organizations that are not.
Is the message that your employees are sharing about your organization similar to the one that Mike shared with me? Regardless of the number of employees, Operational Excellence should be a part of every company’s DNA if they want to stay competitive and attractive in today’s labor market.