“Missed It by That Much”

I had dinner the other night at a new local restaurant with my wife.  She asked me about how a restaurant might improve their service.  Seems a reasonable question and I am constantly evaluating the service I get or don’t get.

I thought I would order a sandwich like I do at my favorite “other restaurant” and that would be a grilled tenderloin with extra pickle and a cottage cheese side.  I gave my order to the waiter, she wrote nothing down.  Sure enough, the sandwich came fried and i had to send it back.  The waiter also failed to provide eating utensils or apologize for the wrong order.  The tenderloin (#2) was OK, but nothing special.

As a new restaurant, that is trying to secure new customers . . . they did not provide service that I expected or “what mattered” to me.  Had they been able to do this, I may have switched to the new restaurant.  Why?  Because a week later I had a similar experience at my favorite restaurant.  In fact, I can think of a few restaurants that failed one way or another which meant there was opportunity.

It reminds of the story that I heard years ago, where two hikers coming out of a tent run across a grizzly bear.  One hiker starts to slowly put on his tennis shoes and the other hiker on seeing this says, ” You are never going to outrun that bear.”  The response, “I don’t have to outrun that bear, I just need to outrun you.”

The issue is that you never know what the competition is really doing.  Don’t worry about what the competition does, just worry about what you are doing.  If you can “execute” to “what matters” to customers you probably can build a decent clientele.  The problem is restaurants seem to be focused on things that don’t matter to me.  And  if you want to get my business . . . get my order right.

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Synthesis, Not Analysis is the Problem

I caught an interview with an gentleman by the name of Brad Grossman (Grossman and Partners) that works with executives to keep them current (in general).  I visited his website and found that one of his predictions for the future is the need for more analytical positions in the future.

If only analysis was the problem.

The American problem is synthesis.  God knows that as Americans that we know how to break things down.  We already are in data overload.  We have complex systems of delivering products and services that are weighed down in costs of the infrastructure.  Are ability to break things down does not guarantee that when we put them together again they will synthesize very well.

The functionally separated organizations that we have designed perpetuate the problem.  Dogmatic management that manages the pieces by optimizing them at the expense of the whole system.  Locked-in by pay for performance with the fundamental belief that performance is down to the individual.

The organization has a boat anchor around its metaphoric neck.  Learning how to synthesize means learning to see the damage or enablement that the current thinking is doing to the system.

Tripp Babbitt is a speaker, blogger and consultant to service industry (private and public).  His organization helps executives find a better way to make the work work.  Read his column at Quality Digest and his articles for CustomermanagementIQ.com. Reach him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TriBabbittor LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/trippbabbitt.

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