Great Leaders Make the Difference

I’d like to take a moment today and remind you of a simple, yet undeniably powerful truth – Great Leaders Make the Difference.

It’s a well-popularized perception that Chick-fil-A has some of the best customer service is the fast food industry. And, I’ll be honest, I concur with that perception whole-heartily. But earlier this year I found a McDonald’s in town, that easily rivaled – if not beat – Chick-fil-A in providing an awesome guest experience.

I mean breakfast was fast, greeters were friendly, and the food was hot and the quality outstanding! The same thing happened during the daily lunch rush. And yes, I know what you’re thinking, “you’re eating at McDonald’s way too often brother!” But I digress.

At the center of this “wow” fast food experience was a young manager – let’s call her Michelle. She was simply phenomenal. Like a general leading her troops, she would stand at the end of the line in an expediter role and manage the back and front of the house. She paid attention to the little details and used both the McDonald’s systems, as well as her own leadership, to create an environment that left guest eager to come back.

Her trademark saying “we appreciate you” as she handed you your order was infectious and always seemed sincere. She managed employee downtime ensuring that bathrooms were cleaned, floors swept, and condiment stations stocked. I notice team goals and encouraging messages that said things like “drive-thru wait time <1 min – we’ve got this team!” She was really impressive; so much so that I took an opportunity to let the owners know through one of their surveys.

But recently two unfortunate things have happened:

#1, my McDonald’s habit (although greatly minimized) is still present [pray for me]; and

#2 Michelle has moved to another store. 

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#2 is arguably worse, and the reason for this blog, because it reminded me that Great Leaders Make all the Difference.

With Michelle gone, the store’s standard(s) of excellence have slipped with it. I want you to notice something because this is really important: the systems are still in place, but the leadership is gone.

When I visit this McDonald’s now, I get a B+ experience. The overall systems are still in place, but the execution of those systems is gone. Now, the tables aren’t always clean, and the other day they were stocked out of beverage tops, and I had to wait at the counter for someone to go in the back and get some more. Not the end of the world, but it wouldn’t have happened on Michelle’s watch.

Our goal is to help your church develop robust and efficient operating systems. It’s what we do, and what we’re good at it. However, you must be the type of leader that helps drive and execute those systems; because those systems alone aren’t enough. It’s what separates good churches from great churches. It’s not just good systems, but it’s great leaders faithfully executing those systems.

Leadership makes all the difference! Believe me, I know, because I’ve now spent five full minutes sitting here in the drive-thru waiting for an egg McMuffin and medium coffee.

Today, Michelle would have made all the difference!

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