Do you see the bridge?

What we see oftentimes depends on what we are looking for. 

Is it a young lady or an old lady?  My wife or my mother-in-law?

Last Thursday night, I was inducted as an Honorary Commander with Troop 2, Delaware State Police.  Col. Nathaniel McQueen, Cabinet Secretary, Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security was the guest speaker.  He mentioned the above photo and how it reflects where we are as a culture, our different views as a nation and the gap by which we see the world around us.  Obviously, it got me thinking. [Side note- tighten up on your driving.  I will be out on patrol soon.]

There is certainly a tension in our country starting with political beliefs but bleeding into race relations, sexual orientation and even into our religious affiliations.  We see the world through the blinders that have been put in place by our education, learned biases and upbringing.  Some have little tolerance for those that do not align with their thinking while others seek to shed some light, bridge the gap, introduce another point of view or, honestly just “work the middle”.

Yesterday, we celebrated the 245th anniversary of our country’s founding.  The birth of a nation did not come without a higher sacrifice or more strenuous hardships than we have faced over the past 15 months.  The true American grit can be seen throughout the history of our land.  The example of what it takes to be united, sustainable, successful and the envy of other countries is right in front of us.  But what do we see?  The young woman or the old lady?

But, what about the tension in our businesses and the people that we lead?  The struggle with product availability is real.  We grapple with finding team members to fill the gaps on our schedule and the pressure to satisfy our guest’s needs is becoming harder and harder.  What we see depends on what we are looking for.  Do we see the young lady or the old woman?

The world around us should not impact our vision, standards, values, morals, or ethics.  As leaders, it is our role, our obligation, & our responsibility to hold fast to the tried and true, to be unwavering in our commitment and to bridge the gap between the tendency to lower our standards and make excuses and the opportunity to outperform our competitors and exceed the expectation of our guests.

  • Do you think that the Health Department will give us a pass on sanitation and the safe food handling?
  • Should we give up on opening the door for our guest on every visit and completely throw out all etiquette?
  • Should “Big Hello’s and Big Goodbye’s” be silenced until we are better staffed?
  • Are manager table visits being put on hold because we are “too busy”?
  • Should we stop measuring what matters?  Table greets? Ticket Times?

The answer to all of the above is a resounding “NO”. 

As leaders, we need to see both the young woman and the old woman.  We need to see what has been and what can be.  As leaders, we must seek opportunities to invest in our young people to develop and hone their skills, as well as challenge those that are more experienced to continually step up their game on a daily basis.

This is what was written on a note found blowing around the streets of Philadelphia around the time of the Revolutionary War.  “Before a battle is won on the field… a battle must be won in the minds and hearts of the people.”

What is the message that you are sending to your team today?  What standard are you holding them to?  What picture are you revealing of what your business looks like?

As soon as your mind identifies the bridge, the gap is gone…but the bridge was always there…you just had to see it.

Bridge the gap!