Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cheese Saboteur

I did it. I am the malicious saboteur. If you had been at 7-Eleven last night, you would know that. Everyone that was there knew it.

Traveling back to Yorktown, last night, took what seemed like forever. No wanting to extend the endeavor, I waited until I arrived to get something to eat. Already late, I thought I would just grab something quick. I have not had nachos in a long time and the thought of gooey cheese and jalapenos was inspiring.

I pushed the button to dispense the cheese and nothing happened. I asked the attendant, who told me just to push the button, so I did again....until, "You broke it!" Followed by, "Give me the gloves, this guy has broke the machine and got cheese all over the inside!", just loud enough for those waiting in line in the next county to take notice. In case you did not hear, this guy broke the machine so if you want cheese or chili you will have to wait 30 minutes while we clean up his mess! (OK, not quite that bad, but close.)

Dejected I walked away, head down, avoiding the stones and Big Gulps thrown by the Pharisees.

It got me to thinking about communication and leadership. It becomes real easy to blame the user/employee/volunteer/customer for not getting it right. We can hide behind questions, like "how hard can it be?" We can write and enforce policy or systems, but if we have not communicated in a way that those we lead understand...it's not their fault, it's ours. We choose who "gets it" (and who does not) in how we communicate.

When we fail and blame them, we may save face in our own eyes, but we lose our influence in theirs.

6 comments:

BetnyNonnie said...

Well you really should be more careful when pushing the button on the cheese machine! What did you end up eating?

Daniel said...

But it's so much easier to blame others so that our self-image and confidence remain intact. I thought that you had some leadership training, you should have known that.

Brian Miller said...

You would think even I could not screw up with a flashing red "push" button...a sandwich.

lol...Dan thats "old school" leadership, but then you had to add firing the person.

Dot-Com said...

Hear, hear! And you got a good blog out of it too :-)

Rob said...

You should have told the clerk that the machine was not broken. Then you should have taken the top off the machine and dipped your hand in the cheese...thus pulling out a handful of yummy goodness. Then when you should have walked out of 7-11 with your head high and declared "I fixed it." Everyone else in the line would have followed your example and you would have become a hero. That my friend is leadership.

Brian Miller said...

Rob, that is amazing in a William Wallace kinda way. Considering the temperature (of the cheese) is 130 degrees I may have led them to the hospital. But what is leadership without risk? (...oh yeah management)