Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Being "Correct"

An exchange I overheard between the counter worker (partner) and a customer at the local Starbuck's here in Belmont made me both cringe and chuckle. First of all the chuckling; the fella at the cash register told the barista three, four, maybe five times what the customer wanted, all a variation of a latte, first it was skinny, then no foam, then foam, then skim, then...whatever. I overheard part of the exchange that included something to the effect of "you didn't say that." and a plaintive retort of, "yes I did." It really was like the commercials that poke fun at the sizes and styles of coffee drinks offered here (I ordered a "coffee"). The cringe came when the fella kindly explained to the customer what "skinny" meant, something to do with the syrups they use. I could tell that the customer was a bit miffed as she walked away, having been chastised for her ordering method (image from

My thought was, do you think the customer wants to have their ordering method corrected as you take the $3.95 from their hand? Let the customer order whatever way they want and give them what they want. Whether they ordered the "right" way or the "wrong" way is irrelevant.

This pattern of thinking, the order taker repeating the order in the most efficient way for the barista to make the drink makes sense. BUT, there really is no need for the register worker to be "right" in the way of ordering relative to the customer.

How does this in any way relate to this blog? Sustainable business and regenerative economic thinking requires a shift in our existing patterns of thinking and action. As I re-read some of the material for our creativity course I was reminded of this fact. Here's an excerpt:
It is easy to get trapped in good patterns. For this reason, what solutions we choose depends on what we have been successful with in the past. Past successes blind us to even better solutions.
Some of the patterns we have are there and have been there for a long time and may work quite well.
  • How are those patterns limiting our options?
  • How are rote ways of learning & thinking conspiring to throttle new movement?
  • What am I doing (or not doing) to jolt myself out of patterns that can help lead me to a new realization about something old?
  • How is being "correct" distancing people with other opinions?
Any suggestions?

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