My freshman year in college I worked as a front girl at Burger King. (Not my favorite job ever. Not my favorite uniform ever.) Fairly often I was assigned to the drive through.
Back in the day before headsets, we had to push a little intercom button to talk to the customer and get their order. The order was punched into the cash register. Then we called back the order in a microphone. exactly. as. we. were. taught.
You couldn't say “fry” or “small fry,” it was “large french fry” or “french fry.”
You couldn't say, “double whopper, no pickle,” it was “double beef whopper, minus pickle.”
And if you said “whopper junior with mayo,” you would hear one of the cooks in the back scream at you, “Service! ‘Whopper junior plus mayo!”
“Service” meaning, “you idiot, you said it the wrong way. I will now say it correctly for all to hear, you dolt.” At which point you dutifully called the order back correctly. Or else they ignored you and didn't make the food.
Even worse than the brown/yellow/orange polyester pant suit with visor and worse than being publicly embarrassed was the new razzmatazz drive through timer system.
Once a motorist left their order at the intercom and began to drive to the window, they crossed a sensor that started the drive through timer ticking. From that point we had something like 90 seconds to get the order packaged and to the customer — and for them to drive away and pass the second sensor — until an alarm went off and continued to beep loudly until they came.
Suffice it to say, it is not always the cashier's fault that an order is “late.” For example, when fries take three minutes to cook.
While micromanaging often leads only to stress and discomfort, keeping focused on the progress we are making toward our goals is one of the best ways to keep motivated and on target. In fact, if we don't know where we stand, it's very difficult to know the next step.
We get what we inspect, not just what we expect.
It's true that knowing the score increases productivity. Many things can be timed or graded or scored and give a clear path for improvement in quality, quantity, or efficiency. But remember to do so only when it's reasonable. Efficient and effective aren't synonymous and sometimes the latter suffers at the hands of the former.
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