The Fiancé and I recently attempt to visit a new restaurant for dinner, a hole in the wall Vietnamese place. We were tired, hungry, and unsure about what we wanted. We noticed several people sitting at tables and a person waiting at the cash register. We asked a waitress what the process was for getting food.

She motioned us to a table and brought over menus. 10 minutes later a line had formed at the cash register that was 6 groups long. Our waitress was now engulfed in taking orders, sending tickets back to the kitchen, and charging guests up front. We were now expecting to wait a long time to order and even longer to get our food.

Frustrated and confused, we left.

Experiencing incorrect processes has been incredibly frustrating lately. Either I feel like someone hasn’t thought their job through or someone’s trying to scam me.

In the case of the restaurant, it was obvious the restaurant owner/manager hadn’t thought about the ordering process. There was no sign posted, “Take a seat”, no protocol for the waitress to follow concerning dine-in guests, nothing to instill confidence in new customers.

A similar situation happened at Verizon. We walked into a local branch and had asked to have a new plan with just us (instead of our respective parents). We were motioned to sit down and call a support line. 6 employees stood meandering around the store as we setup a new plan over the phone. One even turned on some loud music that we had to ask to turn down.

At one point, left with The Cranberries “Zombie” playing in the background, the person sitting with us left and never came back.

We didn’t need them. We didn’t need to go to the store. Even ordering new phones was done online. It was clear that the process was so overly done for online purposes that Verizon had overlooked their own branches.

Granted, we thought it was just a ploy to get us in front of some salesman that would push us to buy more, but that wasn’t true either. There was just the 6 people waiting to go home.

The connection: I’ve been thinking about process more than ever. I’ve been taking stock into my own processes for myself and the ones I prescribe to others.

I ask myself:

  • Have the expectations been communicated? Are they clear?
  • Is there waste? Can something be cut out and still retain its end-value?
  • Am I instilling confidence in this process?
  • Besides the main goal, what else is a result from completing this process?

When you fail to instill confidence in your process, you are failing to instill confidence in you or those responsible. In both instances we could tell that the employee was unsure what to do. As a result we had to ask ourselves, “did we make the correct choice?”.

For one of the two business, the answer was “no”. As a result, that is one less customer. For the other business, every time we have an issue with our phone we will now ask, “should we switch to another service provider?”.

We are all going through an awkward phase in the country. We’re coming back to face-to-face. We’re unsure about what’s right and what’s wrong. Many of us don’t want to upset anyone and the rest are just waiting to wait out the clock.

Whatever the case may be for you consider looking at your own processes. Are you confident in them? Are you instilling confidence in others?

I know that I’ve been quite shaky lately about the process I’ve had for learning the 7 Habits. I know that I’ve been even more shaky about the process for finding/buying a house, insurance, and even planning the wedding. However, I know everything will work out just fine when the time comes to make a decision.

Hope you enjoyed reading. As always, I hope you found something to add to your everyday rhetoric repertoire.