You could divide your staff into two groups:
And “Can’t do” or “It’s too hard to do.”
New Zealand is a somewhat quiet country. We don’t have screaming birds like Australia, and our people—like the birds—don’t generally scream at each other. It is not culturally acceptable to yell or be pushy or demand good service or get in anyone’s face or make a big deal of yourself.
That being said, I have a story to tell you.
When I was 14-years-old living in a small, sedate town in New Zealand, onto this dignified stage walked a relative who had moved to the USA in his youth. He was 6’4’’ and weighed 250 pounds and had a huge red beard with a similar mop of hair.
He had run a fleet of crab boats out of Seattle and had a big, booming voice, a deafening laugh, and fists like Christmas hams. He was alive! He told crazy stories and spouted his own huge, definite opinions.
No one in the family could tolerate him. They would be super nice to his face but behind his back, they would mock him and his forceful, righteous, Yankee ways.
His larger-than-life presence and thundering voice still echo in my mind to this day. One moment I shared with him has stuck with me forever. That moment changed me.
He, myself, and two other family members had gone into the hardware store to get some nails and wire to fix a fence. We went up to the counter where the clerk was reading the newspaper to get some help.
Big Red said, “Hey buddy, I’m looking for these particular nails (he described them) and this particular wire (described it).”
I should explain that customer service in New Zealand is almost nonexistent, especially in the service industry where there is no tipping.
The clerk, without even really looking up, limply gestured toward the isles of hardware products and said, “I’m not sure if we have that, but you can look down there.” And then he went back to reading his newspaper.
Big Red looked shocked, and I saw a terrifying transformation come over him. He had just about HAD IT. He was used to the good service he’d received in the USA.
Professional service and capability was important to him. He ran a crab boat crew, and the guys on those boats had to be very capable and go into action right away. If you weren’t professional in your manner, you could die.
And Big Red had just had it with the can’t-do, no-assistance attitude of the people in the New Zealand service industry. So he slammed his ham-sized fist down in full-force on the counter top and yelled in his earth-shattering voice, “I WANT CAN DO!!”
I swear everything on that counter top jumped a foot in the air, and the clerk’s eyes bugged out of his head, and his mouth gaped open like a hooked bass.
Big Red yelled again, “CAAAAAN DO! I WANT WIRE! I WANT NAILS!”
The clerk jumped up and zoomed down the aisles like he was on wheels. And guess what? We got our wire and nails in short order.
I watched the whole episode in awe. The rest of the family members had literally ran and hid in their car after the first CAN DO! They were so embarrassed.
Afterward, Big Red and I fixed the fence and had a fantastic day together. I think that incident kept me grinning for an entire week.
For years after that, I would yell, “I WANT CAN DO!” and slam my fist onto things whenever someone told me something could not be done. As I wasn’t massive and had no huge, scary, red beard, my actions were met with varying levels of success.
This does not mean it won’t work for you.
But hopefully, in handling people, you won’t get so frustrated that you have to employ the method of smashing counter tops and screaming at them to get things done.
And at TBA, we can train you on the management skills of how to get rid of the CAN’T DO in your staff and life and get you more of the CAN DO! Cheers!