Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Simple Lesson on Leadership

Just the other day while with one of the boys that I mentor, I asked him if he was hungry and like any teenage boy he said “yes”. When asked where he wanted to go eat, he said “McDonald’s!” It was lunch time and the parking lot of the first restaurant we approached was full and we noticed people standing around in long lines at the counter. We decided to find another.

The next McDonald’s that we found was just off the expressway and located in, how shall we say, “The hood”. It was at a busy intersection surrounded by low income housing. Its parking lot was also full but we noticed that there were no long lines waiting at the counter so we went in. As we went in I was struck by the efficiency, cleanliness and friendly atmosphere of this location. I must mention that the employees at this franchise seemed to reflect the ethnicity of the local neighborhood.

It took no more than 3 or 4 minutes from the time we entered into this location, stood in line, placed our order and received our food. When we received our food it was hot, freshly cooked and tasted great. Now I am not a big fan of McDonald’s but I will seek out this particular location when ever I am in the area. The point I wish to make is that this particular location seems to have placed its emphasis on customer service and as a result has earned my continued business.

I am sure that there is a strong manager or management team that runs this particular franchise and that the change did not happen overnight. I am sure this management team could have made more profit if they had reduced the number of personnel that were cleaning the floors and expediting the orders. It takes strong leadership to place principles before quick profit and therefore guarantee the long term consistent profit that most businesses desire.

This business model I described is just as true in our personal lives. We must stop placing Band-Aids over the symptoms and find a cure for our illness. This means that we must start taking responsibility for our own lives and that of our organizations or families and stop looking to blame everything and everyone else for our lack of success. We have to stop looking at what others have and start focusing on what it is that we truly need and then develop a plan on how to obtain it.

I don’t need to tell you that what has been going on in our homes as well as our country for the last 20 years hasn’t been working and has led to our deterioration as a world leader. As leaders we need to get back to basics. We need to spend more time with our families and walking around in our organizations to determine what’s really happening within them. We then need to pray for the wisdom to determine what changes need to be made as well as for the strength and courage to implement them. Let’s begin from wherever we are and remember to be strong and courageous!

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