The Manager at Panera was working too hard

Early this week, I got a text from my daughter asking if I was free for lunch.

I seldom (if ever) decline an invitation to dine with Allison because – well – She’s my daughter and love hanging out with her, so I moved a meeting and we met at Panera (her favorite place) at 12:45.

We both pulled into the parking lot at exactly the same time and walked in together. The lunch rush was waning and virtually every table in the place was “soiled”, Trash cans were over-flowing, and there were many dishes that needed to find their way to the dish washer.

Having managed many restaurants in one of my former careers, I was not alarmed. Dining rooms get trashed during the rush as most employees are focused on the most important things – Taking orders and preparing consistently good meals for a large number patrons in a short period of timing. I loved the rushes when I was in that biz.

In the heat of the rush, everyone is “in the weeds” with more to do than possible, so it often becomes an “all hands on deck” scenario with every employee engaged in serving the customers in the order queue and getting the food delivered as quickly as possible. It’s at these peak times that some managers will pull the “dining room staff” from their main pursuits behind the counter to serve as “gofers” for the line cooks to restock the line as it depletes. With no dining staff, the place gets trashed quickly – VERY quickly . . . It was clear to me, that day, that the rush was an “all hands on deck” lunch rush.

At the end of the rush, the masses departed just as quickly as they showed up leaving what we used to call the calm after the storm . . . The pace slows, and most of the staff shift from serving to cleaning.

It’s not uncommon for Managers to pitch in by busing tables and helping out where needed to reset the restaurant for the next busy shift.

I cleared and cleaned a table for Allison and me, our food showed up, and we dove into the tasty meal and great company (each other). We were there for close to 2 hours telling stories about our recent trips (Hers to Guatemala and mine to Cape Cod) . . . and observing the cleanup effort that rivaled a superfund site.

We were seated adjacent to one of the trash cans, so we were on the path that every person who needed to make a deposit in a trash can or remove dishes from the dining room would do so within 5 feet of our table. The manager took it upon himself (mostly) to tackle the mess, and the cleanup took close to an hour to complete . . . that manager was very “busy” doing the work of an employee for all that time. Also that whole time, our empty dishes remained on our table, and he never even made eye contact with us – No greeting – no conversation – NOTHING!

He missed a golden opportunity to engage us and give us a reason to LOVE going to HIS Panera restaurant instead of the one a couple miles down the road next to my office.

My lesson reminded is for us to maintain focus on the things that matter most, the first of which is almost always human to human engagement. I would have tolerated the messy dining room twice the time I was there had the manager given us the slightest hint that he was glad we were there in his establishment.

We all get in the weeds occasionally.

Don’t let those weeds distract you from the simple and vital energy that radiates when people connect.

We all crave these connections and attention.

Are you holding yourself back?

“Perfectionism is a form of self abuse.”

The above is a quote from the NINJA Selling weekly email.

As often happens . . . synchronicity . . . This message is timely and relevant.

The theme for this week seems to be all about ways people in the their own way of seeking success.

The NINJA message went on to mention the importance of focus on improvement over time . . . not perfection . . . because . . . odds are not in your favor that you will achieve perfection, so that expectation will indubitably result in “Failure” – That is – abandonment of the mission due to frustration with yourself.

The trap is one of FEAR!

This is deep seeded fear of “shipping” a flawed product resulting in embarrassment in the event your “critics” identify a flaw and pass judgement on you.

The older I get, the more I realize that the most important actions are “Start” and pledge to “Finish” and commit to Focus on continual improvement. Ship when any client steps up to receive.

To some degree, I see folks exhibiting another odd phobia . . . of success.

Weird, eh?

These are the folks who worry about getting too busy thereby creating conditions that lead to “dropping balls” or less than perfect product or service delivery.

So . . . They fail to ship or stall lead generation efforts.


A better way . . . find leverage – Technology – Systems – People – to lighten the “back end” load . . . or refer the business that’s not your “sweet spot” (Niche)

Embrace growth and stop holding yourself (and your business) from realizing your full potential.

Did you forget to take a break?

Now that you’ve taken care of everyone else . . .

What have you done for yourself recently?

Last week, I treated myself to a week on Cape Cod with my Family.

I arrived Friday Evening, and this is the first photo I snapped from our waterfront deck.

I intentionally insulated this experience by completely unplugging from all technological communication other than taking photos. On the first day, this was not easy. I found myself thinking dangerous thoughts about all of the mayhem that would likely ensue as a result of my absence from the biz. Upon waking Tuesday morning, I resisted the HUGE sense of “responsibility” I felt and suppressed my urge to check in with the business world.

How could I be so irresponsible as vacate my post as CEO and Principal Broker of a thriving Real Estate firm? I felt AWOL and was certain there would be unconscionable repercussions.

Guess what?

I’m back in the office this week, and I’m not sure anyone missed me while I was gone.

There’s a right way to take time off.

Don’t try doing it on the sly!

Don’t apologize or make excuses!

DO get someone in the office to cover any calls while you’re gone!

DO tell all of your clients when you will be gone and when you will return (No obligation to disclose where you are going).

Bottom line: If you’re going on vacation, go on vacation . . . no strings attached.

You deserve this!


You DO!

Money Money Money – What about Loyalty?

A fool and his money are soon parted!

“The simple but hard to follow rule is this: Only borrow money to buy things that go up in value.”

Seth Godin NAILS it with this post – The tyranny of small debts, compounded

We seem to be in a world in which “making money” trumps morals and values.

The desire for more money (and things) clouds judgement, and many folks end up in deep tapioca (debt). Seth’s comment that debt which compounds is the real killer . . . when you’re paying interest on the interest owed, you’re losing the game.

Simple things like loyalty and integrity and simply doing the “right” thing become scarce, as “we” participate in the “BIG GRAB” with little concern for long term ramifications.

Of course, our leaders at every level (County, city, State, National, Organizational, Parental (?) are modeling this magnificently . . . Why wouldn’t we all play along. As affordability decreases, consumer debt increases . . . because we’ve all gotta eat, right?

Let’s decide now to put the creditors out of business.

Let’s deploy the element of surprise . . . and start doing that thing that we’ve forgotten . . . Live within our means.

I say lots more about this in this morning’s Drive Time video.

Feedback welcome!

Sometimes Being Called a Fool is a compliment

When you’re a believer, quitting or selling out is not an option.

Vision is clear, Purpose is resolute, and mission accomplishment is a foregone conclusion.

This is not for the faint of heart.

Entrepreneurs (REALTORS) know this all too well.

I’m not sure that we “became” Entrepreneurs . . . We were born this way.

Through the years, we’ve been labeled “Dreamers with delusions of grandeur”, drifters, and maybe even FOOLS by the people who witness our dogged determination to make something out of nothing.

Maybe they’re right. We gamble everything and lose . . . frequently.

They marvel at our resilience as we jump back on our feet, brush ourselves off, renew our vows to the mission and dive back into the fray with reckless abandon.

We are quintessentially indefatigable in our burning desire to get “THERE”!

We can Taste, hear, smell, see and feel the fruits of sweet success, and NO ONE can stop us.

and “they” tell us we “can’t” . . .

I’m here to tell ya that we CAN and we WILL even in the face of ridicule and critique.

Being called a fool is a badge of Honor that many of the most successful people on the planet wear proudly on their Lapels.

I know what “Mission Accomplishment” means to me . . .

What does it mean to you?

Let’s do this!