Jake Thompson | Keynote Speaker on Grit and Leadership

Attention to Detail

The little things usually matter most.

There’s a burger joint near my wife’s office that we frequent occasionally. The food is great, but we go back time and time again because of how they behave at the bar.

The bartenders are trained to replace your martini glass as soon as they see the ice frosting disappear. A great martini should always be served in a chilled glass so that stays crisp longer. Many restaurants may serve the drink initially in a chilled glass, but then you’re on your own.

This burger restaurant continually replaces your glass until you’re finished drinking your cocktail. I’ve sat at the bar in a number of high-end steakhouses around the country – places where you’d expect them to take this much care with your cocktail at the bar – and have never once seen them take this action.

But this Plano burger bar does – every time.

The last trip there got me thinking about the importance of this one little gesture in the big picture.

It’s just a martini glass.

It is just one drink – but their action of changing the glass out throughout your enjoyment of the cocktail is about much more than just one drink. This gesture speaks volumes about how they:

  • Care about their guests’ experience
  • Constantly pay attention to their guests
  • Create a culture of servant leadership

This seemingly one small gesture isn’t by itself – it’s part of a larger cultural commitment to meeting the needs of a customer before they even ask. And that one small gesture is the reason we continue to go back there often.

Is Your Company Culture Ready to Change Glasses?

Not every company is equipped to enhance their guests’ experience because not every company is full of servant leaders. This type of leadership was first developed by Robert Greenleaf and encourages a focus of asking “how can I improve the lives and experiences of:

  • My guests
  • My team
  • My company

It’s not asking your customers what they can do for you but instead asking what you can do for them. It’s investing in your team to develop a leadership mindset so an unnatural focus on constantly serving because a natural habit they practice daily. Like keeping a guest’s cocktail glass chilled at all times – no matter if you’re a high-end steakhouse or a local burger joint. The little things don’t require a BIG expense – only BIG thinking to encourage this forward-thinking approach to service.

My dad was always adamant that his gas stations have spotless bathrooms. He knew the reputation of most gas stations was that of dirty, smelly bathrooms you’d want to avoid at all costs. He also knew that if he could develop a reputation for having the cleanest restrooms in town, people would stop at his stores more often to use them. And more stops equal more purchases by guests.

He achieved this by taking a servant leadership role with his team and focusing on enhancing the experience by the little things, like a clean bathroom. And anyone who’s ever had to make a pitstop on a road trip knows the importance of a clean gas station bathroom.

Today’s landscape is more competitive than ever. Instead of worrying how you can go bigger and bigger, make your focus smaller and set yourself apart with your servant leadership and attention to detail.

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