On Wednesday, I had an opportunity to give a speech to an amazing group of women who are part of the Metro Tulsa Career Professional Women. I talked about stories. The stories we tell matter. The stories we listen to matter. Stories connect us in this confusing and often crazy game of life. In my role as CEO of Community Care College, Clary Sage College and Oklahoma Technical College, I hear a lot of stories. Most are very rewarding and very happy. A few, not so happy, but that’s OK. I listen to and we hopefully formulate solutions.
Last night, I had to make a quick run to Walgreens to pick up a very important roll of toilet paper. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Teen behind the counter. He was shallow (only my initial perception but I really don’t want to judge or stereotype.) Shallow people lack depth…they cannot access the imaginative, creative, understanding, emotional part of their brain. What was his story? Last night I didn’t care about him because he was not friendly to me. This morning I’m thinking that his story could be one of depth, excitement or even sadness. Is his girlfriend beating him up? Is he hooked on Loratab (happens in pharmacies you know)? Did he flunk out of– the highly subsidized by your tax dollars–TCC’s Tulsa Achieves program and now forced to attend non tax paying TTC? I need to go back and learn a little bit more about his story. Maybe I’ll pick up a converstion “icebreaker”… something better than toilet paper….any suggestions?
And now we’re looking at speech’s as opportunities? Sweet.
Maybe when you return to Walgreen’s for that next important roll of TP you could assess if Mr. Teen is more outgoing or friendly. If so, you could compliment him that he seems much better than he was the other night when you saw him and it was a positive, noticeable difference. If he acts much the same way, take the teaching moment, show interest in him and ask him if he is feeling okay. If he says he is, then you might want to help him improve his customer service skill set by mentioning that you left his business the other night unhappy because of his unfriendly demeanor. He may not like to hear it but hopefully it will get him thinking about how he is being perceived by customers and reflecting on what he can improve on. Bottom line is it could be a wake up call that he just can’t go through the motions of work without being noticed and if he is responsible and mature enough to accept the feedback, it could save his job.