Service and Chopsticks by Linda Yates

LindaYates1One great way of teaching is leading by example. One way to get your students to learn is to get them to teach you. Last month we explored elements of a positive service experience for both the giver and the receiver. Today I was pondering how you would teach good service to an employee or an individual that you are trying to mentor even if that person has never experienced good service before. It would be hard for them to deliver exceptional service if they had not experienced exceptional service before. They would not know what to do when confronted with the different types of service scenarios that could occur, so there would be a disconnect or missing link for that individual.

One great way of teaching is leading by example. One way to get your students to learn is to get them to teach you.

 NULL While eating lunch with chopsticks one day I was contemplating this learning by teaching and it reminded me of a personal experience when I thought I would never be able to learn, as I had instructor after instructor try to teach me. The story goes like this – I was raised on an Idaho farm and ranch. I spent my summer competing in rodeo events, driving cattle and pulling weeds in the sugar beet fields. Eating out was a true luxury because the nearest town was a good distance away and I have five brothers and two sisters. When we did eat out, it was typically a hamburger stand. On very special occasions my parents would go to a Chinese restaurant that was 50 miles away. A few of us kids got to attend a couple of those occasions and because I was naïve to the tastes of different ethnic foods, I always opted for the one “American” dish on the menu. After one of those dinners, I remember my Mom serving some of the leftovers and I thought I would try a bite and you guessed it, I was hooked! Oriental food and all its varieties now happen to be one of my favorite foods. I love to cook them, smell them, and lastly eat them! As I moved away from home and started my adult life I was traveling all over the country and when I would have oriental food the people I was with or the wait staff at the restaurant would try to teach me how to use chopsticks. This went on for twelve years. Every new person that I had oriental food with would try to teach me their way of using chopsticks. One evening I was dining alone and sitting at a Sushi Bar and got into a conversation with a gentleman about chopsticks, he said: “Linda, just pick them up in your hand, don’t think about it, and practice picking up the larger pieces.” I tried, missed, tried several more times and finally as time went on, I was eating with chopsticks and today can even pick up a grain of rice. So what does this teach us? First off, when you have experienced something that someone is trying to teach you, and you try their way exactly you may not ever get it right. You may find that with applying your own unique style, your outcome is the same or perhaps better when a variation on the skill was implemented. Also, we learn that we each are given innate hardware. Even if we have never experienced great service in our lives, the ability to give great service can be learned and can be delivered with our own style and signature.

The best way to learn something is to teach it – so with those you lead or have stewardship over get them to teach you what great service is to them and they will deliver far above your expectations.

We are born with a birthright to succeed that applies to giving great service and even learning how to use chopsticks!


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