Freaknomics points us to the greatest fast food promotion in memory. Beat the cashier in a game of rock paper scissors and save a buck.
What I absolutely love about this idea, other than its obvious remarkability, is the way it humanizes the previously automatonized front line worker. Instead of making them invisible, it makes them part of the deal. "Tell your Starbucks barrista a really funny joke, get a free biscotti (knock knock jokes not valid in some states.)"
Why not do this with your accounts payable people? Or give the customer service people the ability to give a prize to the nicest person who calls in each day? What's the worst that could happen--they might use a little judgment, might enjoy the day a bit more, might even start to care.
If you let them.
I love the idea for several of the same reasons. I guess I've always had a soft spot for the guy in the check-out line because I've been there/done that.
One of my biggest pet peeves is the people who go through the checkout line yacking on their cell phone without so much as a "hello" to the guy behind the counter. They're people too - not robots. I love the idea of reintroducing them to the customer, and rewarding the kind of behavior that treats the checkout guy as an individual who is involved in the process rather than a machine who cranks out change.
We don't have a California Tortilla in Fort Worth or I'd be there Wednesday to support the idea... despite the fact that I stink at Paper Rock Scissors.
A friend is wrestling with his ability to be coached. For the coachable, "Turn right at the light" is seen as a helpful suggestion for someone lost in a strange town... the advice goes in, is considered and then acted upon. For someone wrestling with coaching, though, it's like surgery. It's painful, it has side effects and it might lead to a bad reaction.
Coaching happens all the time. Most often, it's not from a boss or a professional coach. In fact, the best insights and advice usually come from informal or unexpected sources.
In fluid marketing and organization environments, where the world changes rapidly, coachability is a key factor in evolving and succeeding. Not because all advice is good advice. In fact, most advice is lousy advice. No, the reason coachability is so crucial is that without it, you don't have the emotional maturity to consider whether the advice is good or not. You reject the process out of hand, and end up stuck.
Symptoms of uncoachability:
- Challenging the credentials of the coach
- Announcing that you're being unfairly singled out
- Pointing out, angrily, that the last few times, the coach was wrong
- Identifying others who have succeeded without ever being coached
- Resisting a path merely because it was one identified by a coach
Years ago, at the great Bolshoi Ballet, auditions for the troupe were conducted among 8 year old girls. That's because it took ten years to become great. How did the auditions work? The teachers weren't looking for the best dancers. They were looking for the dancers who took coaching the best. The rest would come with time.
The great Howard Hendricks from Dallas Seminary always calls this trait "teachability." I would argue that without this trait, our lives and ministries are destined for obscurity. I don't know where Seth is spiritually, but the main focus of his blog is secular marketing. I don't know why, but it never ceases to amaze me that good wisdom in one's spiritual life and ministry always translates to good wisdom and practices in the "secular" world.
It's a topic for a future blogpost, but I think the major reason is that from God's perspective there doesn't seem to be a dichotomy between secular and spiritual in the same sense that we draw the lines.
Slowly but surely, I'm learning the culture at McKinney, and beginning to observe some of the things that make things tick around here. I'll try to identify a few of them over the next couple of weeks and talk about them because they're interesting, to me at least.
Today I had a conversation with the executive pastor, and he mentioned a little about the philosophy of ministry that pastors work by at McKinney. I'd heard it before, but he put it especially succinctly today.
"You see it two ways: Some pastors believe people exist to help them have an extraordinary ministry. Other pastors believe they exist to help people have an extraordinary ministry. We want to be the latter."
That's good stuff that most pastors would nod their head in agreement with (at least any pastors who are familiar with Ephesians 4). But how many of us is really comfortable in that kind of role? I know a lot of pastors who are interested in making a name for themselves - for all the right reasons. They love God, love people, and truly want to do great things. But along the way they use people to help their own ministries be extraordinary. As a result the pastor's ministry isn't nearly as extraordinary as it could be, and the world suffers from a limited number of extraordinary ministries.
It works in corporate America too. You see a lot of corporations that exist to make a CEO look great. Those corporations will always be limited by the vision, gifts, and personality of the one leader in charge. But when the CEO exists to help employees have extraordinary influence, that corporation is unlimited in its potential.
So what kind of leader are you? How do you view the people around you? Why would they say you believe you exist?