You’re probably reading the title of this blog and—appropriately so—assuming I am one of those caffeine-loving, coffee house veterans who can think of no other way to start my morning than with that beloved cup of Joe. You’d be wrong.
I don’t drink coffee. Ever. Never have and I never will. You can thank my beloved wife as the inspiration for this post.
You see my wife loves coffee, specifically a medium iced coffee with cream and sugar. And I am a pretty awesome husband (depending if I am in trouble or not, she would tend to agree). That means I will venture out about four to five times a week to pick up, in her words, “the elixir of the gods.” In the end, she gets her perfectly cold brew and I am left with nothing short of a migraine. Allow me to explain…
My coffee quest begins with my intentional rejection of the drive-thru. As if the year is 1980—a time when cell phones hadn’t yet become somehow genetically welded to our flesh—I happily park my car, smile at strangers as I walk across the parking lot and wait in line ready to answer “I’m doing AWESOME!” when the greeter asks me how I am doing this morning. I am proudly that person.
And here’s what happens every time.
I order a medium iced coffee from a woman we will call Betty. She grabs the cup and writes my order on the cup. So far so good. Then it begins…
She walks over to what might as well be Japan and fills the cup with ice. The voice in my head starts: “Maybe today she’ll be faster.”
After visiting Japan, she heads over to Texas to grab the pitcher that contains the magical elixir. My skin starts to feel prickly.
Now comes the cream and sugar part. Surprisingly, the cream and sugar are nowhere near Texas. So, Barista Betty launches herself across the store to a station near the drive-thru window. My blood is officially boiling and for some reason the lyrics to the song “Mad World,” from Tears for Fears, start running through my head.
“All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for the daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere”
It’s not over.
Poor Barista Betty does figure eights behind the counter to grab the lid, a straw and napkin. I believe we are done.
She confirms all the steps are complete by happily exclaiming, “That will be $2.86.” For a moment, the horrific scene of ordering a specialty drink plays out in front of me. It’s too much to bear and I force that movie out of my head.
I leave the store—not feeling awesome anymore—and deliver the drink to my wife. Happy wife, happy life is the saying right?
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Why Don’t We Fix What’s Broken?
We experience inefficiencies and bottlenecked processes every day, both as business leaders and consumers. In your case, it may be receiving the round-robin agent experience with your cable company when all you want to do is add HBO to your lineup. Or, it may be that you need to get signatures from your boss, your boss’s boss and your boss’s boss’s boss to do something as simple as file an expense report. This “business as usual” approach is disastrous in both the consumer and business world; it breeds seas of complacency and end user frustration.
As business leaders, we can’t accept a “good enough” environment, one characterized by broken processes and legacy systems. We can’t get comfy with a death-by-spreadsheets environment; used to operating two siloed systems; or frustrated with a lack of end user adoption. We have to constantly strive to be transformative, push our businesses forward and fix what’s broken.
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No matter your line of business and industry, I implore you to consider the following: don’t let your business model be saddled down by inefficiencies, ineptitudes and wastefulness. Force change by tackling system and process complexities and affecting the change your organization desires.
And to all the coffee shops out there, please, please stop the Barista Betty madness.