A local convenience store received a delivery of ice on a day with a heat index of 100 degrees. An outside delivery. Where the ice sat untouched the entire time I was in the store.

The one clerk that was moving another pallet of ice from outside into the freezer was called away – by the store manager no less – to help ring up customers.

I’m all for speedy service and not making people wait in line, but I’m more in favor of reasonable priorities. Those who buy that ice – assuming it’s still ice by the time it’s sold – will receive re-frozen lumps instead of cubes. Job 1 should have been to get it inside into the air-conditioning immediately, and having just three people in line shouldn’t have superseded getting it into the freezer.

I suspect the manager was so in the habit of calling for additional help when a line formed that she didn’t intentionally think about the decision she was making and the de facto priorities she was setting. But don’t have a similar brain freeze when you are called upon to direct your employees. What is important under one set of circumstances may be entirely wrong in another.

 

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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