I love sweet tea. I’m not from the south and I haven’t been brought up on it… but I love it. The McDonald’s $1 large drink is a great deal and I love their sweet tea! I won’t tell you how many times each week I actually stop and pick one up. I’m not ready to make that type of confession.
On one visit, I pulled up the first window to pay and as I handed my credit card (yes, I pay for a $1 drink with a credit card) I noticed the shirt the employee was wearing. I don’t normally notice this type of things, except that this shirt was very intriguing. I liked it so I asked, “that’s a cool shirt, what’s it all about?” The employee looked back at me, a man in his mid 40’s with a shaggy but clean look about him, replied, “I don’t know. I got it yesterday and just put it on.” I laughed. He laughed. I said thanks and on I went to the second window to get my tea.
Why Was This An Epic Failure
As I pulled away, I drove off to the side of the parking lot to make a note of the event. This shirt got my attention. So much so, that I went to the extent of asking about the charity that was listed on the front, genuinely wanting to know more about the big picture of what they’re going after.
The shirt was designed, produced, shipped and distributed to employees… only one thing was overlooked… educating the employee about the big picture. Without the knowledge of the big picture it doesn’t matter what shirt he wears because they will all mean the same thing, nothing.
How McDonald’s Could Do Better
I’m sure you have plenty of thoughts given the cultural attack McDonald’s endures every day… but let’s stick to my example above dealing with the big picture.
If the managers of the store had been instructed to educate their employees on the big picture (i.e. purpose of the shirts, the vision for the program and how customers can get involved), I may have supported their cause on that day. It was a great shirt and I wanted to know more. As it is, McDonald’s missed an opportunity by not educating.
Perhaps, they did and this employee was just apathetic, but based on how he responded, I really believe he was just told to wear a shirt for the next day of work and he was just complying with the rules.
How You Can Do Better
As you continue to lead your area of influence be intentional to educate your team on the big picture. Don’t rely on others or situations to bring them in the loop. Your people need to hear it from you. You are their leader. You are their source of connection to the big picture. You have to paint a picture in their minds of where you are going as an organization, but more importantly, as a team. If you lead them well, they will become invaluable advocates for the big picture cause which you are championing.
Okay, I’ve beat up pretty good on McDonald’s, but I gotta say… one thing they’ve done right is advertise that $1 any size drink. Yum, sweet tea!