2 Ways to Stop Something that Happens “ALL the Time”


Maybe it was because I had been reading Judgment on the Front Lines. Maybe it was because I was starving. Maybe it was because I felt stupid. Maybe it was because I had 2 of my 3 kids in the car driving me crazy. Maybe it was a bit of all of the above. But I was frustrated.

Although the pizza place handled the situation better than they could have, and it was - at the end of the day - my fault, I still was a bit . . . peeved. Let's just say I am not use to their being more than one of the same kind of restaurants in the same town.  Heck, I am not use to their being more than one Mexican or Chinese or Italian restaurants in the same town . . . much less more than one of the same food chain. Who am I kidding? I am not use to there being more than 5 restaurants in the same zip code! But alas, there are numerous food establishments in Franklin, TN and more than one of the same kind of pizza chain. And, yes, yours truly ordered a pizza at one location and went to pick it up at the other. The very nice gentlemen behind the counter realized what I had done and recommended I stay there for the pizza because going to the other location would take more of my time. He called the other place and told them what an idiot I was (no, I really don't know. . . but I probably would have!) and the pizza that I had originally came for was ready in about 12 minutes.

What has me writing about this was something the guy behind the counter said when he realized what I had done. He said, "Oh, this kind of thing happens ALL the time." That statement is what got me thinking. What could be done to ensure this doesn't happen all the time and what can we church people learn from this "mistake"?

Two thoughts come to mind:

First, put yourself in their shoes and take the initiative.

What I mean is this - If you are the guy on the phone, and know that this kind of thing happens "ALL the time," it might be helpful to tell the person on the phone, "By the way, we have two locations and this location is the one at __________." It takes 5 seconds and saves major headaches (both for the people cooking the pizza and for those picking it up). For us church people, it would help tremendously if each of us would take a second and put ourselves in a guests shoes and take the initiative to help them out. "Let me show you where the bathrooms are." Or, "Come sit over here with me and my family." Or, "Do you know where our children's wing is located?" Or, "Can I get you a cup of coffee?" Or, "Do you have lunch plans after the service?" When it comes to the obvious, don't wait to be told what to do. Put yourself in their shoes and take the initiative.

Second, know what's happening on the "front lines."

I wonder if the manager or CEO of the company knows that this sort of thing happens "ALL the time"? If so, I have a pretty good feeling he or she would ensure that those answering the phones would take 5 seconds to communicate with callers that there are two locations and which one they were calling. It's such a tiny gesture, but could go a long way. This is a reminder for me and other leaders to make sure you know what is going on with your people. Get out of your office. Learn from those "on the floor." Find out what is happening with those who are buying your product (or visiting your church). Know what is happening where it matters the most. In some instances, it is a matter of money and food. For others, it may just be a matter of eternity.

Again, I realize this was my fault. I could have looked on the internet closer and taken an extra 5 seconds to double check my GPS. I am from Alabama. It takes me a while. But for something that seems to happen "ALL the time," a couple of small tweaks could save a lot of valuable time.