This past week, my oldest son had a cross country meet. The meet got started a little late and by the time it was over, my wife had to leave quickly to take my daughter to basketball practice while I gathered my three boys to head home. It was getting later in the evening and the kids were very hungry, so we did something we almost never do- we stopped at a fast food restaurant. My family rarely eats this kind of food, but we passed one that I am ok with eating on occasion, so we stopped in to grab a bite to eat.
This particular fast food restaurant has pretty decent food and outstanding service. The company clearly invests time in teaching great customer service. I noticed as we were waiting in line, and also getting our food, that the cashiers (and other workers) reply to every request was, “my pleasure.”
No matter if it was to someone asking for a refill, returning an order that was not correct, or bringing the last bit of food to our table, the response was always the same…”my pleasure.”
Since eating at this establishment, it has made me think and reflect upon how I respond to requests or even thank yous from others. From what I have noticed in the past week, my go to responses are either “not a problem,” “no worries,” or “happy to help.” So, what is the difference? This company is obviously very intentional about responding to every request with “my pleasure.” But why does it matter so much to them?
The more thought I gave this response made me realize the difference in the culture that is created by “my pleasure” versus other responses like: “not a problem.”
I think that by just looking at the connotation of what is being expressed you can tell a great deal between the response of “not a problem” in comparison to “my pleasure.” Ultimately, responding with “not a problem” insinuates that there was the potential for a problem, but you were not put out by their request. In other words, you are saying, “what you asked me to do could be a problem, but luckily for you, I think you are a good enough guy that I am not going to make a big deal about it and help you anyway.” Ok, I may be taking that to an extreme, but I think I have made my point.
My pleasure, on the other hand, implies a culture of service — I am happy to help, honored to assist, and here to support you in anyway possible. My pleasure tells others that you are not only happy to help, but you are grateful to serve.
For years, when introducing myself at school events, I have said: “Hello, my name is Brian Knight, and I serve as the principal at…” I believe that great leaders are very intentional with their actions and words, and this statement is an example of that intentionality. It has become a habit in my introduction. After my experience at that particular fast food restaurant last week, I now recognize other places in my leadership I need to instill responses that show my passion for service.
I don’t believe we can ever be too intentional with our words. What we say has a great impact on our circumstances and those around us. In the upcoming week, pay special attention to your words. Think about how you portray yourself to those around you with what you say. Do your words align with your moral compass? Do your words truly represent you and your beliefs?
To be completely honest with you, my words are not always the best representation of me. But, I know the more intentional I can become with what I say, the more I will become the person I desire to be.
Thank you for reading my post, it has been my pleasure to share my learning journey with you each week!