Leading in Tough Times 5 – Do BEST What You Do Often


On the Everyday Leadership radio show our goal is to “make work work.”  A waitress wanted advice and said: my clientele is changing, less people are eating out, and tips are down . . . but, she added, I know you can’t help me with that.  A distant bell was ringing in my head, about a study I once read that said servers who find a way to physically touch their customers get higher tips.  So, I went Googling for it, and he came up on page one of my search.

I mean Professor Michael Wynn who teaches at Cornell University.  He has done tens – maybe fifty – studies on the variables that affect tipping.  Can you guess some?  Introducing yourself by name, crouching down to talk, repeating the customer’s orders back to them, thanking them by name (usually from seeing their credit card), and yes, physically touching them.  So, I started out on a non-scientific study, asking servers if they knew these things.  Almost none did.  And I asked Professor Wynn whether restaurant management routinely teach wait staff about this research.  Very infrequently, he answered -  despite the obvious rewards they stand to reap from customer satisfaction and loyalty.

What’s the everyday leadership lesson?  In tough times, get the research about your everyday work.  We do over and over again what we have done over and over again.  Yet Google is always sitting right there in our office, waiting for us to learn there’s a simple, better, more efficient way, and a way that’s probably been proven.   When was the last time you searched on your core task or tasks to find out what’s new, proven, and effective?  Google will give you results in under a second.  Got a minute?

In tough times:  Control what you can control, and in your core business, learn all you can to

Lead with your best self!