I had been helping at a halfway house for women that has a small coffee shop. I was asked to teach the girls about food management and customer service skills.
I had shared with the two lead girls the need for them to understand the difference between how much of each item they were selling and the amount of ingredients needed to make what they were selling. That was to address the answers to two of my questions – do you frequently run out of food (yes),- do you find you have ingredients that you have to throw out (yes).
However I somehow must have touched a nerve about the finances of the organization that upset the Leader.
The day after that discussion I got several text messages from the owner/Leader of the home telling me in essence that she had decided the ladies had learned enough and that she want them to run with it as they were becoming too dependent on me.
So I had two new firsts happen as result of that one event. One; It was the first time I had been fired from a volunteer job, Two; It was the first time I had been fired via text message.
Guess I must have missed the memo that this is the new world order of conducting business (non-profit and I’m assuming for-profit, alike). Goes to show we older folks (meaning me) need to catch up with the new business etiquette if we want to continue serving it and not be blindsided by the lack of what I grew up knowing – treat others as you would want to be treated yourself.
That however was not the end. On Mothers Day my daughters and granddaughter who have never been to the shop were excited to take me there. When we arrived it was super busy and I could see that ALL the girls (7), in a space that barely hold three were brand new arrivals. There was one of the older girls on cash, but clearly out of her depth in trying to guide the others in preparing the flurry of orders she was taking.
So to continue the story (which is already overlong) we waited 1 1/2 hours for food that never came, others had been waiting longer. Those waiting are proof of how much leeway we will give to what we think is a good cause.
I felt especially bad for one poor man with an elderly father who finally had to leave to catch a plane having paid but not eaten. The ladies could not offer refunds as they didn’t know-how.
Then came the next blow – they had run out of ingredients to make the food! And they could not reach any of the management team to help. The girls were beside themselves not knowing what to do or how to deal with very unhappy customers.
We ended up leaving and I was in tears. I felt so bad for the girls. I couldn’t help out. None of the new ladies had any idea who I was or that I had any knowledge of their situation.
Later that night I received several text messages from the (leader) telling me how sorry she was, that it was an unexpected event and totally unavoidable. She said they had learned from the event and it would never happen again.
She then went on to blame the girls and how they had not only miscommunicated the issue but had also broken a $1000 grill. After a couple more of these text messages shunning responsibility, I could no longer respond and simply replied “I can only wish the best for you in the future” and shut off my phone.
So today I asked myself – what lesson could I learn from the experience. And I’m struggling to find them.
And this is what I could come up with:
Note one to self might be –
do not get invested in a role until you know what the real meat of the operation is. (I had put my heart and soul into helping these young women learn transferable skills). I had however not been able to meet with their leader who was too busy putting out other fires.
Note two might be –
to remind myself of what my father tried to teach me – don’t get upset about something you can do nothing about. ( I was not only upset, I was so distraught to the point of being physically and emotionally exhausted).
I’m also thinking it is time to reread this book:
Master your emotions: a practical guide to overcome negativity and better manage your feelings.
And finally, the biggest lesson might be –
NEVER BLAME OTHERS FOR THE FAILURE OF SOMETHING YOU ARE THE LEADER OF.
I think that lesson might also be of value to an on-business.
When things aren’t going the way we envisioned we blame it on the customer. More often than not we blame it on the lack of customers.
When in fact it is our lack of learning how or doing the things that will attract customers. And when we do learn how to deal with those that do arrive.
List Building is job ONE, how one may of us are challenged with doing.
Sue has come a long way since I first started seeing and using her products. She got me and many others on her list so she knows a thing or two about list building.
As the leader of our business, it is our role to keep learning about not only things we can do but also what others in our industry are doing, that can help us succeed.
The easiest way is to join like-minded groups who share their knowledge and the best I’ve found bar none is The Kitchen Sink Mastermind Group. The Best Part of course is that it’s FREE to join. Check it out here.
The final note of the Lessons I learn is to also take time to LEARN more about how to EARN from what others share.
The KITCHEN SINK Plus Group is an economical way to learn about the stuff we use each and every day in our business.
The proof of that is the number of people from the free group who have also gone the extra step of paying to belong to the PLUS group as well.