There is Only One Line, Next

The frustrated cashier barks at the customers, “There is only one line!” Reluctantly, everyone obeys the cashier as she races between two registers. Her effort to keep the line moving is failing, and customers are frustrated.

Regrettably, you are one of the frustrated customers, and you start thinking:

  • Where is the manager?
  • Why can’t the cashier call for help?
  • Why can’t another employee help?
  • Why are there only two registers open during rush hour?

Finally, the manager shows up, she casually steps behind the register and announces, “Next.”

The manager does not acknowledge the overwhelmed cashier. The manager does she not apologize to the frustrated customers. The manager does not show urgency? The manager just says, “Next.”

The author of Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, Simon Sinek notes:

“Value is not determined by those who set the price. Value is determined by those who choose to pay it.”

You did not experience value. You suffered through a breakdown in leadership opportunities. What could the company do differently:

  1. Make sure the registers are staffed during rush hour.
  2. Empower the cashiers to call for help when the line is getting long.
  3. Train the team to be mindful, if the line is getting long hop on a register.

Sinek continues:

Great companies don’t hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them. People are either motivated or they are not. Unless you give motivated people something to believe in, something bigger than their job to work toward, they will motivate themselves to find a new job and you’ll be stuck with whoever’s left.

Why can’t the company hire already motivated people? A team motivated to keep the customer happy is a force multiplier.