“My Pleasure!”

By April 10, 2015 Uncategorized No Comments

That’s what the Chick-fil-A drive-through attendants say in reply to the customer’s acknowledgment of an order courteously taken. Just as I write that statement I reflected on the relative frequency of fast food order mishaps. Funny that takes me back to the Anjelah Johnson YouTube King Burger parodies where when faced with difficult orders keeps yelling “securty”.  But I digress.

For organizations to perform well over time, the classic task of leaders has been to get employees to “do things” that produces the targeted bottom line goals. “Classic”, however, has served its time.  What we know today … from the research and writings of Jim Collins, Daniel Pink, Simon Sinek and Raj Sisodia, et al … is that people are inspired to work for organizations that live out the leader’s convictions … their beliefs … their hearts.   They have a passion for the business and for their people. Serving the innate human desires of employees is the crux of servant leadership.

Business has a spiritual dimension that shows up as culture … also categorized as esprit de corps.  You can walk into a company for the first time and sense if it’s there or not.  When S. Truett Cathy opened his first restaurant, Dwarf Grill, in 1946 he started out with a closed-on-Sunday policy.  Yes, he did it for religious reasons … his personal conviction.   Six-plus decades later the policy is still in place at Chick-fil-A stores. Mr. Cathy died last year and one of his living requests was a contract with his children that the company would never go public.  Truett’s son Dan is president and chairman today.

At Heart Matters, our characterization of culture is expressed “culture represents an organization’s compass and the leader’s heart is a reflection of TRUE North”. What companies come to mind in that space?  Do the leaders of Apple, Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, Johnson & Johnson, Amazon, Google, etc., follow some unwavering compass bearing?

According to studies there is a workplace transformation underway, evolving in part due to the large boomer population segment that is reflecting on the unfulfilled meaning of materialistic 60s and 70s and career-first patterns.

I think a key to sustained organizational performance is the organization’s purpose … cause … leader beliefs.  Why?  That’s it actually … “why”!  Why does the company exist?  If the leader stands for something that serves humanity, people will be attracted to join as employees who are now part-owners of their cause.

That’s how you “get” someone to say, with a smile and enthusiasm, “my pleasure”!  And, it just dawned on me, those performing that task are, for the most part, members of that millennial workforce generation that demands meaning in their work!   

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