Guest Blogger: Robert Betzel, President & CEO, Macon IT Support firm, Infinity Network Solutions.

As I recently sat and ate dinner at El Azteca here in Macon for the last time because the owners decided they had to close I thought of the phrase “Winter is coming”.   You see I have been going to dinner there almost every Friday night with my wife for the past 10 years.  My daughter’s first outing after birth was to this restaurant.  So I had to ask what happened.

I was told by the owners that the environment changed, the customer changed and economy changed.  They said that caused them to have to close.  So I decided to set out to write about how each of us that provide leadership should be doing those things that are needed to be ready when winter comes to our organization.  But then it struck me; why did I care that this place was closing, why was I angry with “the others” that hadn’t supported restaurant more, why was I upset with the owners for not doing a better job running the place?

Let’s face it there are 5 other restaurants like it in Macon.  It was because I had made a connection with myself worth, my life and my memories in those meals, the staff that served them and the owners that greeted me each Friday night.  I looked forward to going there and seeing friends, taking others there to share in the atmosphere and fun and be able to relax over good food and a drink.  So how did they cause me to react like this?

I am not sure they realized what they were doing but from one of my first meals there the owners took the time to speak and when appropriate talk in more detail about me and things that connected us.  I was always greeted by all of the staff whether they were working our table that night or not.  When things didn’t go just as expected they allows apologized first and worked to make it right second.  So in short:

  • They made it personal (We all want to have an investment in people we associate with)
  • They made it repeatable and predictable (We all want to know what to expect each time)
  • They made sure we felt important and wanted  (We all want to feel wanted)

So what are you doing to connect with your employees, users, and clients? Because if you aren’t doing these things either intentionally or accidentally someone else will.  This is something that starts at the top and works its way down through all the team members.  It has to be worked on at all times because the moment you think everyone knows how to do everything you will find something starting to slip.  It may not be noticeable at first but before long things will have slid backwards to a point that all the hard work you put in to date will be undone and require you to start the process back over.  That is if you still have employees and/or clients to start over with.  So as always let me know what places have won you over like El Azteca did me and how you do the same at your organization.