Driving home from work the other day, I couldn’t help but smile and slow down for a lemonade stand. Three adorable boys cheered and ran up to my car to ask, “Would you like to buy some lemonade?” I laughed, nodding, because why else would I be stopping?
“Most definitely,” was my response. I am pretty sure there was more cheering.
The three of them tumbled back to the stand and somehow ALL participated in filling a glass 2/3 full and then poured a bit back into the container. They returned to me – all smiles – with a solid half-full glass, once ice cube morsel.
“How much do I owe you?”
I pulled out two and handed it to the cashier who looked at it puzzled.
“A little extra for all this heat,” was my comment. All three of them said “Thanks” simultaneously.
As I began to sip, I almost spit back into my cup, laughing, when one of the said, “Um, can we have the cup back? They are Masters Cups.”
Glancing at the cup I noted that, indeed, I was served in a very sturdy plastic cup from the 2013 Masters. They had a stack of 10-15 of them on their lemonade stand. My role as a parent kicked in and I thought for sure that no parent was aware they were selling Mom’s or Dad’s prized cups.
“No problem. I live just down there. I’ll drop it off in your mailbox, okay?”
They agreed and I drove off, not wanting to revert to my college days and chug it right there.
Turning into my driveway 30 seconds later, my 2013 Masters cup was empty. I stopped the car and grabbed a sleeve of lemonade stand-worthy cups from my pantry.
Warning: business digression…
Ok, so as usual, I started thinking about how we come across to prospective clients when they pull up to our lemonade stand eager to do business. Do we come across naïve and inexperienced, not sure exactly why they are there, or have we done our homework and anticipated their needs? Do we have everything we need to provide them with the service they expect, or do we ask them to do work they expected us to provide? Do we have enough ice to go around? Are they laughing with us or at us?
A few minutes later I pulled back up to the lemonade stand and handed the smiling boys their Masters 2013 plastic cup and the sleeve of cups from my pantry. Once again, they cheered and thanked me profusely as I drove off. My parenting hat back on, I hoped they would be rewarded for their ingenuity and entrepreneurial side and not chastised for selling the Masters cups of which mine was probably the only one returned.
Once again, I digress: how well are we doing at setting expectations with our team? Do they know what is okay to ‘give away’ and not? Do we provide them with everything they need to do their jobs or are they forced to ‘wing it’ for cups? Do we tend to criticize or reward creative thinking? Do we make it easy to provide stellar customer care? Do we survey our clients and then take action in areas they suggest we improve? Thanks to my lemonade stand incident, I am going to share my experience and ask our team those questions. I think I’ll bring in some nice, cool lemonade for that meeting.
– Becky Sharpe, President & CEO