New York City, the following week
Coming back to work didn’t quite go as Josh had expected. His excitement had dampened a bit when he realized that the store felt like most stores he had visited in London. There was nothing special going on. On this Tuesday morning his team was busy unpacking a shipment that had just arrived. Customers were coming and going, without getting any special or at least personal attention. In other words, there was work to be done. Josh realized he couldn’t do this on his own. He thought back to the team spirit he had experienced at Bread&Care and decided to call a team meeting later that week.
On Friday, just after the store closed, pizzas were delivered and Josh brought in a few bottles of wine. Every team member had been invited, including the part-time stocker, as well as the cleaners. After all, for clients, everybody was a team member, and all would be needed to develop a new service experience. The team was excited about the pizzas and the wine. For them, this was also a new experience. One that would have a big impact on the future of the store.
Josh first engaged in small talk with the team and then started talking about his experiences in London; the good, the bad, and the ugly. After also sharing his experiences with various retail stores in London, Josh asked how the team felt they were doing. Most team members responded they felt they were doing a good job; much better than most stores.
Josh went to the bathroom and reflected on what he just observed. Apparently, the team didn’t feel it was time for change. He realized that it was unfair to expect that the team would immediately understand what Josh had meant. They needed to experience it for themselves. Alison had told him there were many Bread&Care stores in New York City. He decided to go back to his team and give everybody a $ 20 bill, to experience one of the Bread&Care restaurants for themselves.
A week later they gathered again. Most of the team members had actually visited a Bread&Care store and they seemed to be pretty excited about sharing their experiences. Josh asked the team again how they felt they were all doing in the bookstore. “Myself included,” he added. Most of the reactions Josh received now were spot on, much to his surprise. The team realized they were doing a good job in running the store in an efficient manner, but they were not creating many memorable experiences.
Joanne, the part-time stocker, went further and said she now realized her job would have to be bigger than what she was currently doing. “What do you mean?” asked Josh.
“I now just process shipments and focus on unpacking and stocking. I frequently get questions, however, which I now feel often deserve more attention than they get.”
Abe, one of the junior salespeople said, “I believe we should take a new look at all of our roles. Instead of selling and stocking, we should be focusing on giving people a good time.”
Josh was very happy with Abe’s suggestion and asked the team to think about what ‘giving customers a good time’ would look like. He asked the team to brainstorm about this in two groups and report back in forty-five minutes.
Josh was amazed about the energy in the room throughout the meeting, and liked very much what he was seeing on the flipcharts of the groups:
Josh had been thinking about bringing in a guest speaker, yet his team was doing a phenomenal job so far on generating initial ideas to improve the store experience. After two hours, everybody went home feeling excited and they agreed to have another team meeting in one-and-a-half weeks whereby everybody would think of individual actions they could take. Some were so inspired that they started testing some ideas on their clients the next day.
In London, Josh had experienced the fact that the power and spirit of the collective is so much stronger than the mere effort of individuals. When he came home that evening, Josh told Marcia about the very inspiring interaction he had just had with his team. “Did you think about saving a pizza for me as well?” Marcia first asked with a smile. She had been working late again. But then she quickly said, “What was the coolest idea you heard tonight?”
Josh then proudly shared several inspirational insights and ideas of his team.