But the Other Guy is Really at Fault

In a recent post from my friend and colleague Shep Hyken, he speaks about the poor service he received at a high-end steakhouse. He explained it like this: “As the server was setting down the salads, we noticed that one of the salads had a tiny portion of salad compared to the others. It was less than half the amount. The salad didn’t even cover the entire plate. So, my friend spoke up and mentioned it to the server, who replied, “I don’t make them. I just serve them.” And, then he walked away.”

Can you believe that?

Coming from my 20+ year hotel and restaurant background, I, unfortunately, have experienced scenarios like this. The comment from the server, though definitely inappropriate, is not unheard of in an industry with high turnover and a lack of training. But, it still has high expectations of service. Go figure…

A major issue in many restaurants is the “us-against-them” mindset from the two primary teams that make up the business (kitchen and service staff).

Each thinks they’re most important to the success of the business without realizing that each has an integral part and must work cohesively to be successful. But there’s a blame game going on.

If the food is prepared wrong or takes too long, the servers blame the cooks for the poor tips they receive. When the cooks are asked to make special dishes because of allergies or personal preferences, the cooks take their frustrations out on the servers by being rude or condescending. They forget that the servers are only a representative of the customers.

The challenge starts when you hear a comment like this;

But the other guy is at fault.

Employees forget why they are there. It’s not to “do a job” or make a widget, or ship-out a product. It’s to take care of the customer. When this doesn’t happen, everyone is at fault!

They take care of the customer by doing their job well, making the widget as perfect as it can be, and shipping it out to the customer who pays their salary. Without happy customers, there’s no business. It’s simple!

Leadership must establish best practices that foster teamwork among employees and departments and immediately knock down silos as quickly as they are built.

Regardless of what business you’re in, you cannot be successful unless another coworker is successful too. Some call it “teamwork first”. I call it “responsibility first”.

I must first be responsible for my own personal actions, productivity and attitude before I can expect another employee to perform flawlessly. It’s funny, we forget that the person sitting in the cubicle next to us or downstairs on the production floor has the same high expectations of me.

Teamwork is a great buzzword. It’s used all the time. But it doesn’t work without each of us “doing our job” first. I guess there really is an “I” in teamwork!

Do you have any “teamwork challenges” that you can share with our readers? Write them in the comment section below, thanks.

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