It’s Only a Broken Yolk
by Leadership Keynote Speaker and Strategist Galen Bingham
While working in Atlanta in 2013, I stayed at a Hilton Garden Inn. The free cook to order breakfast is hard to resist. While in line, I searched for the list of ingredients to request for my omelet (sometimes I feel like all veggies; sometimes just mushroom and cheese). The guest before me returned to pick up his order – two eggs cooked over-easy. Instead of delivering the plate, the chef apologized and asked if he could redo the order. He had inadvertently broken one of the eggs’ yolks. The guest smiled and said, “Thanks but I’m not that particular; a broken yolk is not a big deal to me.” The chef replied, “It may not be a big deal to you, but it is to me. If you have a few minutes, I’d like to redo your order to give you what you asked for.” The guest looked puzzled but agreed to the insistent request. In a matter of minutes, he returned. Two eggs over easy; yolks intact.
I commended chef Walter Richardson to the hotel manager for the commitment to excellence. The chef thanked me and then explained the reason behind what I had just observed. “You see sir, my best is not determined by this hotel, my manager or even the customer. The customer placed an order. I wanted to give him my best. I knew the first plate was not my best. If I could not redo his order, it would have bothered me all day.” If only more of us were as committed as Walter Richardson.
- How often is our best determined by a job description, manager or employer?
- How frequently do we settle for delivering less than what we know we are capable?
- How tempting is it to compare ourselves to others, rather than our own internal standard of excellence?
- I think about Walter Richardson quite often. I hope that you will do the same.
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