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have been to get it inside into the air-conditioning immediately, and having just three people in line shouldn’t have superseded getting it into the freezer.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.

 

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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