Sunday, July 18, 2004

Change...Ya Gotta Believe

Ya Gotta Believe

My wife and I had dinner this weekend at a local resturant.  As we were seated, our server offered their current special, a dish called "El Ranchero."  We opted out, had a nice meal and conversation. 

Once the 9 noisy people seated next to us left, we were able to hear better.  And thus overheard a converstion between two other servers.

"Hey, ya sold any El Rancheros today?"

"Nope.  I don't like the El how can I sell it?"

Wow.  There's the change process in a nutshell.  From other sinage in the place, I could tell the management wanted this dish to sell well.  I'm sure the shift manager had made quite a point to ask servers to present it early in the process of seating guests.  It actually sounded pretty good to me, though I didn't order it.

Yet, one server's personal taste scuttled the entire company's effort.  And, at her tables, my el predicto is that they will sell nada El Rancheros. 

And don't we do this daily?  I sure do.    We think that by telling someone to push El Ranchero, that they a) understand and b) will act accordingly.  And we'll see mucho El Rancheros being sold. 

And then we wonder "What happened?"

The solution?  Ask our people what they heard.  Ask "what concerns do you have about this?"  Ask "does this seem odd to you?"  When you hear something, thank the speaker.  Then ask the ultimate followup question; "In addition to that, do you have other concerns?"  Only by asking this second question do we ever get to the underlying issues that can derail any change effort. 

The Lean effort involves change.  We dare not focus only on the tools...we have to listen to the people as well.  Unless they believe, it won't happen.

I hope this is helpful. 

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