Yet again the world is rocked by a terrible and senseless mass shooting. In a community not far from me in Central Florida, innocent men and women entered a business not expecting to run out in horror, be carried out in pain, or not walk out at all.
The media will spotlight the human suffering and try to understand the psychology of the shooter. Politicians will squabble about ways to mitigate future attacks and security experts will tell us how to make our businesses safer. But what about taking a moment with our teams and talking about the importance of caring and compassion?
None of us knows how long we will have to be in service to others, nor do we know the back story of each person we are about to serve. Typically, we don’t know if the next customer has suffered a recent tragedy, is distressed by health or financial difficulties, or feels unaccepted by others. What we do know, is that we have the power in every human interaction to provide service! By that I mean we can offer others:
- A Warm Welcome
- An Eagerness to be of Assistance
- Attentive Listening
- Considerate and Compassionate Care, and
- Sincere Gratitude.
Kindness and excellence in human service, will not stop those hellbent on destroying others but it is a claim to our personal power. True service is a constructive force that leaders can offer to their team members and a gift frontline workers can provide for those who entrust us with their business.
During the wake of this most recent tragedy, I reflected back to a Starbucks customer I spoke to while writing my second book about the company (Leading the Starbucks Way). When I asked that young, burly man about why he visits Starbucks on a daily basis, he unexpectedly began to cry and said, “I get bullied at work and struggle to go back in to my job each day after lunch. I come to Starbucks for a coffee during my lunch break BECAUSE THEY ARE NICE TO ME and I feel able to get through the afternoon at work.”
I remember wishing I could make his workplace more pleasant or help him find a kinder work environment. I also remember appreciating how leadership and the baristas at his Starbucks took the time to be “NICE” to him – thus providing a respite from the challenges he faced.
When the world becomes harsh, violent, and angry – shouldn’t we INCREASE our commitment to service?