In the mid-1970’s the marketing campaign began that thirty minutes after your phone call you could have a hot, steaming pizza delivered to your door. The best part about of only having to wait the length of a sitcom for your pie to arrive was that if your doorbell hadn’t buzzed before the next episode came on, you got it free! Over the years, almost everyone in America has forgone cooking dinner after a hard day for the convenience of picking up the phone and having it show up on your porch dripping cheese and accompanied by a two liter bottle of your favorite soda. As time went on, the competition got more fierce, the menus became more expansive, the customer service efforts catered to making the process simpler for the consumer.
Some may same that this was the beginning of a change in our society. The product user became aware that they could have satisfaction guaranteed on a timeframe that worked for them. Over the years, and particularly of late with the advances in technology, we are a people who want instant gratification. If I want a pizza, I can order it on my smart phone, the same with movie tickets. No longer do I have to wait for the evening news or the morning paper to hear about world events. As the story emerges, it can instantly be at your fingertips. There is very little that someone could want for that is outside of their grasp and couldn’t be obtained in much less than a half-hour. People have evolved into the Veruca Salts of today demanding “I want it now!”
With this in mind, should it change how we deliver leadership? I would say, “No! It is what we should have been doing all along.” However, this change in mindset of those we are leading should make us more aware. It is not a shortcoming of our followers that they want instant results. When they made the commitment to buy, or more accurately, buy-in to our leadership, we made the commitment to deliver. When it comes to the opportunity to guide, lead and mentor, there is no tomorrow. There is no, “We came close and we were only a little late.” There should be no, “I know you had hoped for ham and pineapple, but you got anchovies and mushrooms, be happy with what you got!” Much like in the pizza industry, if we fail our customers, they will take their followership elsewhere.
So what can we learn from the thirty-minutes or less concept to be better leaders?
Delivery should be quick-When the opportunity to lead arises, deliver it! Never bypass the opportunity to lead. If the person didn’t want to be influenced by your leadership, they would not be following you. Never leave them unfulfilled standing on their doorstep because you were too busy, too timid, or too arrogant to lead. Although leadership should be a commitment to a long-term journey, it is the short lessons that craft your overall tale as a leader.
Deliver what they ordered-Don’t mistake this for only tell them what they want to hear. What I mean is don’t confuse the relationship. Your followers are your customers. If you fail to lead them, they will take their business elsewhere and find a different leader. Remember, the position of leadership exists to benefit the followers. Do not transpose these and have a delusion that the followers exist for the benefit of the leader.
Don’t forget to add value-Just like the pizza delivery companies were always seeking ways to add more value to their service, so should we as leaders. Now, put some thought into what this means. Not that showing up at someone’s desk with two bottles of cola and a dozen hot wings wouldn’t be appreciated; it could just be so much more. As a leader, we should constantly be seeking out new ideas and chances to add value to the individuals and groups that we lead.
As always, I hope that these few words provided opportunity and insight into your personal development of leadership. This is just one short discussion about the art of being a leader of the many more I hope to have with you. There are so many topics that we have yet to cover, but more on that next month…