Define The Culture You Want, And Then Make It Happen

We recently went for a casual dinner out and despite walking in to The Longhorn restaurant worn out and weary, we left energized.

Within moments of being greeted by our server, Michelle, we were amazed, and couldn’t help but comment, “Wow, she doesn’t belong here – maybe an upscale restaurant if a server at all!”

She became more impressive as we dined, and we started looking around to see if this was a “Michelle-ism” or more.  We noticed THAT server who seemed to have the same poise, or THAT other server who was completely engaged with her table.  Now we realized the trend – it was the whole restaurant!

One of the managers now interacted with a table that experienced a near miss with a dropped bowl of soup.  As he joked with his guests, and assured their comfort and positive experience, we both said in unison, “That’s it – it’s the manager!”

Finally, we asked Michelle to send her manager over.  Believe it or not, a different manager appeared.  We explained our bizarre interest (and incredible gratitude) regarding our experience.  She reiterated everything Michelle told us.  They invest a great deal in the selection process (Michelle, a former marketing professional, went through 3 group interviews before being hired – she never had 3 interviews for any job before), then 3 weeks, 8 hours per day, 7 days per week training, followed by a night or two of serving (in an auditioned setting) to friends and family.  After 4 years, she still attends training on the foods as well as customer service and is expected to mentor others locally or help with store openings out of state.

This doesn’t happen by accident.  It started with a clear mission and set of values that permeated their selection process, training, leadership, and all other employment practices.  It may not happen by accident, but it can happen in any market, in any business, and it begins with you.

Empower your employees by establishing your culture on purpose, not by accident, and then lead by example by ensuring all your employment practices reflect your purpose.

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