In today’s episode, host John Laurito talks about one of the many business blunders a leader makes: not empowering their team so the business can run flawlessly while they are away. The two most important things a leader should do to their team are to coach and guide. When a leader fails, so does the team, and the business will suffer. A business can only flourish when the leader and team are all on the same page.
[2:10] Here’s another riddle
[7:20] Develop your people
[9:03] Story #2
[12:02] Teach your people to be leaders
John Over the last two decades, I’ve been on an insatiable quest to learn everything I can about leadership. What makes the best leaders so good? After running companies small and large over the last 20 years, today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito. I’m your host, and I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this very topic and what makes the best leader so good. Welcome to tomorrow’s leader.
John Welcome to Tomorrows Leader podcast with viewership in 90 different countries across the world. Now here’s your host, John Laurito tie. How are you doing? Yep, that’s me. All right, so I did it myself. Whatever. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That was me. All right, so I’m going to put this to an audience poll to see which intro you like better. I don’t know. I’m mixing it up a little bit. I’m just changing the intro just to match it a little bit better. The podcast, I don’t know. I’m just messing around and trying some new things. So it’s either that or this one. Welcome to Tomorrows Leader, where we talk about leadership. Lots of different types of leadership on how to lead yourself and elite other people and influence the world in a better way. And here’s your host, John Laurito.
John Here we go. So I’m really kind of deadlocked on those. I’m not quite sure. Which end of the spectrum to go on. But I’m interested in your feedback. So, um, uh, we’ll just, I’ll leave it up to you. It’s, it’s all about you. So I do this too, uh, to entertain, to enlighten, to educate, and to have fun, because this is my way of having fun. So, anyway, okay, let’s get into this real, real stuff. I do have, another riddle for you I don’t have because I’m recording these back to back right now. So I don’t have the ants. I don’t have anybody’s even heard the last episode yet as I create this, which was the last riddle. So the bottom line is there’s going to be a little gap sometimes between you listening and getting a riddle coming up with the answer and finding out who won. So anyway, here’s another riddle for you.
John Okay, so this one we see here. Uh, okay, here we go. Ready? Turn me on my side and I am everything. Cut me in half and I am nothing. What am I? Mm-hmm. Let me give that to you again. Turn me on my side. And I am everything. Cut me in half. And I am nothing. What am I? Okay. Same rules. Same rules. Every single time. Whoever gets it will get some worldwide fame and notoriety. I will announce your name. And if you haven’t already gotten a copy of the book, I will give you a copy of the book, a signed copy of the book, all that kind of good stuff. And if you live close to me or I’m traveling, I’ll bring it to me. We’ll grab a cup of coffee and I will deliver it in person to you.
John So, all right. So here’s my story for today. And the leadership lesson is all about empowering the importance, the importance, the importance, the importance of empowering other people in your organization to make decisions and take smart action. This is a business blunder. I didn’t experience this first woman to tell you a couple of stories and experiences. The first one was talking to my dad who shared this story with me and he’s like, This would be a good podcast. I said, Yes, I would. I will do a podcast on this. This happened. Excuse me. And one of the dollar types of stores, I know there’s a few of them. And this. I’ll just leave it at that. It was one of them. One of the dollar stores. My dad had bought a bunch of stuff. He was returning some stuff, some items. And he was in line talking to the cashier.
John And there was something in the system she needed to override. She needed a code to override, something she could not return items which in my mind is a relatively basic task. And every cashier should have the ability to do that. But this cashier could not, and she had to page the manager. She said I need to get my manager. They’re the ones that have this code to be able to return your items. Page The Manager No response. Page Manager No response. Page Manager No response. Now, maybe I’m taking little, little literary license here. Maybe that was two times. I don’t know what it was, but anyways, no response from the manager. Meanwhile, a line is building up. This is the only cashier that’s on duty right then. And the manager just was not able to be found. My dad said, can’t you just isn’t there an override system? Isn’t there a way for you to just do this? How can you not? What if the manager just disappeared or you’re not able to take any returns?
John The bottom line was, that now this cashier had no ability to do a very simple task, and the manager was not available or responsive. So this situation could not be handled. And again, a very basic situation for a store to be able to return items and take things that are coming back. Meanwhile, a lot here’s a big problem. A line is building up behind my dad. Ten people long and my dad is getting uncomfortable. Was like, listen, he just talked to the person. I’m not going to keep everybody waiting. This is crazy. Let me just come back another time. On his way out, he happens to see outside the store the manager hanging out, taking a break. And he said, Hey, I got a question for you. I wanted to return this. Don’t your cashiers have the ability? I left already that you know I’m leaving. I’ll come back another time. But don’t your cashiers have the ability to return this? I mean, like what? Why was that not the problem?
John She said I can’t. I can’t give them the authority to do that. He said, Well, why? The bottom line was there was no answer. I just can’t. It’s against company policy. Okay, really? Okay. So she’s out there and not responsive. And he said, Well, what? I don’t understand why it was so are you able to do this? She said, I’m on a break and I’m entitled to take a break now. Okay. Yes, everybody’s entitled to take a break. Now, I got to say, if you’re the manager of a store and you see or hear your name called and you’re taking a break, and there are ten people in a line waiting behind one cashier who happens to be calling for you. And you’re not responding and you’re choosing your break. Now I get it. I know you get a lot of people pushing back on me on this. Everybody deserves a break. Absolutely. I’m not saying that. But you’re the manager of a store. You got a responsibility to make sure the store is running well and your customers come first. So what comes first? Your customers or you?
John Your customers come first. So you’re keeping your customers waiting because you’re on a break. But that’s not even the problem. The big problem is the fact that your cashiers are not empowered to do a simple thing. So this is just a small, silly example of how businesses now think about magnifying this to a large, large organization. And I again, I see this, I hear about this. People that I talk to in all different industries tell me about situations like this where their company is just bottlenecked because people don’t have the decision-making ability. They can’t do they can’t execute things that are relatively easy because they have to go to somebody else. The most important thing as a leader, develop your people. I want you to think about yourself as you mean. The problem. If you’re the one that’s in control and has to make all the decisions and has to do everything and has the override stuff and everything, everything’s got to come to you.
John Then there’s a problem because the organization is going to get bottlenecked and clogged and not move any faster than you have the capacity to move or do stuff. You have to push out that power and that authority, even more, it may be super uncomfortable. It doesn’t matter. You have to get comfortable with that discomfort. You have to develop your people and they have to also you have to trust the fact you have to give them the ability to use their brains. If there’s a problem, it can’t just be you as the leader that’s identifying the problem and handling the problem. You have to give them the ability sometimes to even go out of the bounds and say, hey, listen, all right, this is not our normal policy. I’m gonna make an exception because I see a problem. And yes, under normal circumstances, I’m going to adhere to the policy.
John But this is a problem. It needs to get fixed. A customer is being penalized or affected in a negative way. We’re losing business. People have to be able to use their brains. I’ll tell a story that I told many, many, many, many, many, many episodes ago and maybe a year or two ago. On one of the episodes, about a time when I was at a conference, I don’t remember this. This was like a really high-end resort, a very, very high-end, high-end place in a beautiful location. And I remember it. It was I went I was in we was had an event and I was in line at a carving station. You know, we go to these events and there’s somebody that’s carving meat and stuff and, you know, really nice, beautiful spread and just cocktail party, this and that, all kinds of cool stuff. And again, you know, I’m not going to say the name because I’m going to get it wrong. And it’s not really a slight to the company, but it was thinking of the highest-end hotel chains you can think of. And it was one of those.
John So and in any event, I happened to ask the guy behind the counter who’s carving the meat at the meat station, I said, Hey, can you tell me where the bathroom is? And he stops moving and he looks at me with this expression and he just looks at me almost with this panicked look. And he’s like, Really? And I said, Yeah. And he said, okay. And he put down his knife and started walking out of the back of the table and he said, I’ll show you. I said, No, no, no, no, no. Now, meanwhile, there’s a line, a full line behind me. I just literally was standing in line for 10 minutes waiting to get to that point where he carves the meat and puts it on my plate and there’s a line behind me and he says, No, no, no, I’ll take you there. I said, No, no, no, no, don’t do that. You got a whole line of people literally.
John I just need just tell me just point me in the direction. Tell me where the bathroom is. He said I can’t our hotel policy is when a guest house is something we have to take them there. I cannot do that. I cannot tell you. I said, dude, I was begging him. I’m like, please, please don’t do this. You know, a line of people, they’re going to take this out on me, not you. This is going to be on me. These are people that I know. They’re going to hate me because I got to go to the bathroom. And to be honest, if you’re going to do that, I’ll even need to go. I’m not going to go, he said. Nope, I’ve committed. I’m going to do it. I have to. And he took me to the bathroom. He walked me there and I literally just was begging this guy. It was crazy. I mean, crazy. So sometimes now this is somebody that was so fixed on, hey, here’s the policy that he felt.
John Either he was not able to use his brain in that situation, this guy that put it on him, but he was basically like adhering to this absolute, you know, philosophy of service, which is terrific. Hey, we’re not just going to tell you. We’re going to. Show you. But it compromised the negative on that was multiple. Here was one person he was helping and he was hurting ten, 15 people behind me. That doesn’t make sense. And it made me feel bad. It wasn’t even better service. It made me feel awkward and uncomfortable.
John Put me in a horrible spot. So again, you’ve got to make sure, to teach your people to be leaders, not just order takers. Teach them to think like a leader. I don’t care if it’s the person that’s even the cutting the meat or whatever it is, whatever position, teach them to think. As a business owner, if you were running this business, what decision would you make? What would make the most sense? Now, here are the values of this organization. Clients come first, customers come first. So you have to make decisions with that in mind. With that, if there’s a problem, what’s the best way to solve it for the benefit of the customer? If that’s our core focus and everything, you know, a value-driven organization where it’s about service and building customer loyalty and it’s all about the client, then what decision would you make and even run these different scenarios, let’s say in a meeting, your next meeting, run a situation, hey, if you’re in this situation, what would you do if I’m not here?
John I’m not available and you couldn’t have me come to. What decision would you make? This is how you teach people. When I do leadership development workshops, this is what it’s all about. It’s like, you know, it’s almost like the equivalent of you have to have these simulations like a pilot. You’re in this situation the first time you’re dealing with a campy live situation. Do you realize most organizations have zero or very little actual true leader development? It’s like training a pilot, how to fly a plane with passengers on board. Like, why would you ever do that? There’s too much cost to that. That’s not when you train. That’s when you are demonstrating everything you’ve already been trained on. That’s when you’re reacting. That’s when you can’t think. In situations like that, you just have to do what your muscle memory and everything that you’ve been trained to do.
John You’ve got all that stuff that takes place in the simulator, but how many companies and organizations don’t do any kind of leadership development or enough of it? And then they wonder why their leaders are not there. People are not acting like leaders or able to run different parts of their organization. You have to invest in them. So obviously, you know, I’m super passionate about that. That’s what I do. I work with companies. I help develop leaders. You have to do that. You have to it’s not at this point in life and at this point in our society, it’s not an option. If you don’t do it, you will lose those great people to a company or organization that will develop them, will invest in them, and your organization will grow and it will stall and it will fail. That’s the consequence of that. So many of them are very important. Think, think through those two great stories. A business blunder, but a great lesson in this. Empowering your people to make decisions is very key.
John Thanks for listening today, as always. Like share, subscribe to all that kind of good stuff. Go down below, give a five-star review and we’ll see you next time. Take care. Thanks for joining us. And today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. For suggestions or inquiries about having me at your next event or personal coaching, reach me at John@johnlaurito.com. Thanks, lead on!