“Let’s test them,” I said with excitement in my voice. “After all, they say they are freaky fast.”
The challenge was on.
I was standing at the creative business retreat center, sparkspace, and staring at their founder and my good friend Mark Henson. Our meeting was about to begin, but first things first: We needed something to eat.
sparkspace kept a tally of delivery times from recent Jimmy John’s orders on its dry erase board. They ranged from six to 10 minutes. Jimmy John’s mantra, after all, is “Freaky Fast.”
Mark entered the credit card information on their website, gave me a look, and then hit “send” to submit the order. I started the stopwatch on my phone immediately. Now the game was really on.
The two of us stood up from our chairs and proceeded to walk down the hallway and into the room where we would be meeting. We entered the room and made our way over to the comfortable chairs positioned perfectly near the giant dry erase board.
As soon as the fabric of my pants hit the seat cushion, a young man with one pant leg tucked into his sock and a bag in his hand came jogging into the room.
“Jimmy John’s,” he said as his panting voice made its way into the space.
Amazed, I quickly looked down at my stopwatch.
Three minutes and 47 seconds.
Mark and I looked at each other in disbelief. It was freaky fast.
When the delivery guy learned that we had been timing him, he said, “Oh, I could have shaved at least 20 seconds off my time!”
I called their store manager. I wanted to learn more about how they were accomplishing this. I figured there would be some leadership lessons to share.
“Of course we have our ordering system and sandwich line organized efficiently, but the real key is that from day one of anyone working here, we are crystal clear about what we expect and how we are going to accomplish it,” he said. “Our culture attracts those looking for this kind of engaging environment. We live it every day.”
Their guiding principle of “Freaky Fast” permeates all they do and has clarity of language, action and behaviors that follow. The actions are anchored within their culture. They aren’t one-time actions; they are repeatable actions that become habits.
“Freaky Fast” may not be the guiding principle that resonates with you or your team, but it is theirs. Authentically and uniquely theirs. They’ve named it, defined it, they act upon it, and they set up procedures and policies that help them anchor it within their culture. It becomes a habit.
Your journey along this path is to find the values that authentically guide you and your team.
We might not need to be “Freaky Fast,” but we can strive to be thoughtfully great with the people, projects and mission that stand in front of us.
Jason V. Barger is a globally celebrated keynote speaker, leadership coach and author of Thermostat Cultures, Step Back from the Baggage Claim and ReMember. He is founder of Step Back Leadership Consulting, a Columbus-based company that works with businesses and organizations worldwide. Connect via email at jason@JasonVBarger.com or on social media at @JasonVBarger.
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