When I took my mother’s car in for service, I pulled into Hennessy Lexus in Atlanta where she lives, and spoke to Tim, the service representative that Mom usually works with. As we were discussing what needed to be done a lady walked by with a large tray of muffins. I asked what that was all about and Tim said that is was Thursday and on Mondays and Thursdays they had Trudy’s Treats in the waiting area.
“What’s that,” I asked.
“Only the best homemade muffins and cookies that you have ever had,” he responded.
After finishing the paperwork I went over to the waiting lounge where there was fresh coffee and a nice selection of pastries. I tried a muffin. It was fantastic so I tried another flavor. It was so good I had to try the pineapple-walnut cookie. It was the best! After sipping on a little coffee I went to find the baker of these treats.
Trudy Dibert, as it turns out, is a Service Administrator for the dealership. Several years back she baked six or seven pies for the workers at the dealership and placed them in someone’s office. The customers walking by asked what smelled so good and all wanted to try the pies. That was all it took to get her started and now she bakes twice a week for the service clients of the dealership. People actually plan their automobile service around Mondays and Thursdays so they can get one of those fantastic muffins!
Trudy wasn’t looking to get into the pastry business, she just wanted to serve some of her fellow workers by bringing in a few of her pies. What started as giving turned into a something that gives back to Trudy. Trudy loves to see customers light up when they try her pastries. She is truly rewarded by the delight of the dealerships clients. Trudy was being accountable to the people she worked with and now she received an unexpected personal gain in return.
When we start out looking for what we can get, many times we get something. When we start out looking for how we can serve, what we can give and how we can be accountable to the people around us, in the process we usually receive much more in return.
Companies that strictly focus on their bottom line usually find a way to create a profit. Companies that focus on their people, figure out what they can give to their people and how they can be accountable to their people, create a loyal, engaged workforce and a better bottom line over time.
Accountability is never about what you get. Accountability is always about what you give.