Saturday, April 28, 2012

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."

"A man just got married and was returning home with his wife. They were crossing a lake in a boat when suddenly a great storm arose. The man was a warrior, but the woman became very much afraid because it seemed almost hopeless -- THE BOAT WAS SMALL AND THE STORM WAS REALLY HUGE, AND ANY MOMENT THEY WERE GOING TO BE DROWNED. But the man sat silently, calm and quiet, as if nothing was happening.

The woman was trembling and she said, "Are you not afraid? This may be our last moment of life! IT DOESN'T SEEM THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO REACH THE OTHER SHORE. Only some miracle can save us, otherwise death is certain. Are you not afraid? Are you mad or something? Are you a stone or something?"

THE MAN LAUGHED AND TOOK THE SWORD OUT OF ITS SHEATH. The woman was even more puzzled -- what he is doing? Then he brought the naked sword close to the woman's neck -- so close that just a small gap was there, it was almost touching her neck.

He said, "ARE YOU AFRAID?"

She started to giggle and laugh and said, "WHY SHOULD I BE AFRAID? If the sword is in your hands, why should I be afraid? I know you love me."

He put the sword back and said, "This is my answer. I know God loves me, and the sword is in His hands, and the storm is in His hands -- so WHATSOEVER IS GOING TO HAPPEN IS GOING TO BE GOOD. If we survive, good; if we don't survive, good -- because EVERYTHING IS IN HIS HANDS, AND HE CANNOT DO ANYTHING WRONG."

This is the trust one needs to imbibe. SUCH TREMENDOUS TRUST IS CAPABLE OF TRANSFORMING YOUR WHOLE LIFE! And ONLY such tremendous trust is capable of transforming your life -- less than that won't do."


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Rethink: Employees come number one

The commonly held view that the customer comes first is worth a close look. Think about the last time you received less than satisfactory customer service. What caused it? Probably an employee! Either directly, bad manners and a "don't care" attitude, or by not addressing your needs - "sorry, I can't handle that order, you'll have to call another number".

Asking employees to focus on the customer when they may be unhappy with the company is asking for trouble.

How the “employee experience matters” at Starbucks because the company recognizes competitors can replicate the products Starbucks serves, but competitors can’t replicate the Starbucks people serving their products to customers. Its people, not products that make Starbucks Starbucks. (Sure, having a variety of tasty coffee beverages helps too but coffee comes second at Starbucks. Really, it does.)

Just as Howard said in the above quote, Starbucks seeks to connect first with employees and second with customers. WHY? Well, simply put … Starbucks knows employees that are treated well, will in turn, treat customers well. 
Many years ago an old school Starbucks partner shared an internal memo from Howard’s Il Giornale days (dated May 19, 1986) that outlined the early beginnings of Starbucks Employee First philosophy. In this vintage memo Howard writes …

“The attitudes of managers towards their people are of primary importance. Employees should be able to trust the motives and integrity of their supervisors. It is the responsibility of management to create a protective environment where Il Giornale values flourish. We believe our employees will develop a commitment to excellence when they are directly involved in the management of their areas of responsibility. The team effort maximizes results, minimizes costs and allows our employees to have authorship and integrity in their accomplishments as well as sharing in the financial rewards of their individual and team efforts.
We believe in hiring exceptional people who are willing to work for excellent results. In exchange, we are committed to the development of our good people by identifying, cultivating, training, rewarding and promoting those individuals who are committed to moving our company forward.
Together, we can establish the [Il Giornale] difference.”

I can imagine Beethoven asking his customers, hey, what do you think that next note should be? Beethoven didn't do that? Why is it that the managers think they the employees are machines rather than creatives.

"But I like to think that a lot of managers and executives trying to solve problems miss the forest for the trees by forgetting to look at their people -- not at how much more they can get from their people or how they can more effectively manage their people. I think they need to look a little more closely at what it's like for their people to come to work there every day.".........Gordon Bethune, Continental Airlines