Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Excellence?

As with many parents, my two kids are going to day camp over the summer. The bus arrives at 8:15am sharp, and the kids need to be ready when the bus arrives. When the bus arrives, they need to be dressed in bathing suits, covered in sunscreen, wearing hats, having eaten breakfast, brushed their teeth and packed their bags for the day. It doesn't sound like much, but doing all that in 30-45 minutes every morning seems to be the worst form of chaos. Yelling, screaming, throwing things, fighting and general poor behaviour has been the norm every weekday morning for the past two weeks. On top of all of this, we have a 9-day old newborn requiring some attention.

My wife and I decided that things needed to change, so we sat down with the kids and had a conversation about how to make things easier for everyone in the morning. We came up with a few small changes to spread the responsibility out and tried them for the first time today. The kids were responsible for dressing themselves and brushing their teeth before coming downstairs. We left an assortment of breakfast options on the table for them to choose from and told them no TV or other electronics until they had eaten breakfast. Sounds pretty simple, right? Of course it is, even for a four year old and a six year old. But the results were tremendous. By 7:30am, both kids were dressed with their teeth brushed and breakfast eaten. By 8:00am we were outside playing, waiting for the bus to arrive. No yelling, no screaming, no poor behaviour.

For the first time this summer, we were able to spend quality time together as a family before the bus even arrived. We played games, played outside and just had fun. Who knows if this will happen every day, but day one certainly was a big success and since we have told the kids what is expected of them, we feel that these changes will be sustainable.

Think of my children as your customers and see what happens when you engage them in the solution. How can you better involve your customers and what small changes can you make in your business to improve performance?

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