I was standing at the most creative retreat center on the planet, sparkspace, and staring at their founder and good friend, Mark Henson. Our mind-blowing creative meeting was about to begin, but first things first, we needed something to eat.
We looked up at the dry erase board in their office and saw the tally of the delivery times from the last 7 orders from Jimmy John’s. It was quite amazing to see the delivery times of anywhere from 6 minutes to 10 minutes peppering the board. As we all know, Jimmy John’s mantra is “Freaky Fast.”
Mark entered the credit card information on their website, gave me the 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.
3 minutes and 47 seconds. WHAT?
A new world record!
Mark and I looked at each other in disbelief as we laughed at the mere notion that Jimmy John’s received the order, made the sandwiches, handed the package off to their delivery guy (who tucked his pants into his sock), jumped on his bike, road a block down the street, ran into the building and up the flight of stairs to the second floor, and handed us our bag of delicious food. In 3 minutes and 47 seconds.
It was Freaky Fast. And 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!”
It truly was Freaky Fast, and I needed to know more. So, 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. As a guy that speaks around the world about leadership, culture, service, mission, vision and values, this was a worthy conversation. Once the manager got past the idea that I wasn’t a wacko stalker (well maybe), he confirmed what I suspected.
“Of course we have our ordering system and sandwich line organized efficiently, but the real key is that from day 1 of anyone working here, we are crystal clear about WHAT we expect and HOW we are going to accomplish it,” he said. “Our culture begins from the start and it attracts those looking for this kind of engaging environment. We live it every day.”
Their value of “Freaky Fast” permeates all they do and has clarity of language, action, and behaviors that follow. The actions are anchored within their culture each time they do it.
What are the values of your team, organization, family, or company? Is there clarity that links language to action and behavior? Are you living your desired culture? (see the post Why Core Values Matter for more info on this subject)
Freaky Fast may not be the value that resonates with you or your team, but whatever the values are that resonate most authentically with you, my invitation is for them to be Thoughtfully Great. 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.
Remember, Culture Eats Strategy For Lunch And Dinner Too. Good luck eating! Hopefully these leadership lessons are a nice appetizer.
Jason Barger is a globally celebrated author, keynote speaker, and leadership consultant. More importantly, he’s striving to be an above average father, husband, and friend.
Follow on Twitter @JasonVBarger and learn more at JasonVBarger.com