The man walked straight into the store, grabbed a bag of chips, and walked straight out. He did not pay. He also didn’t seem to be mentally healthy.
I was standing in line for my sandwich. He made no attempt to hide the theft. We all noticed. Even the young employees behind the counter noticed.
And after observing this blatant theft what did the employees do?
They kept making our sandwiches. They kept smiling.
No beat missed. No vocal complaint. No cops called. No chasing the man down. No drama.
What I only later understood is that they responded to the situation perfectly.
Let me explain.
In that moment, the most important thing was the customer, and the most urgent thing was the thief. Those employees, for whatever reason, kept their attention on the “important” and dismissed the “urgent.”
Now, it doesn’t matter whether they were scared, instructed never to intervene, or whatever because in that moment they kept their eye on the ball.
How many of us have run out the proverbial door after the thief instead of keeping our eye on the ball? I have.
The lesson from that day (took a few years to learn) is that “urgent” matters have an unusual ability to redirect our attention.
The real question is, how well are we able to keep focused during these times? #leadership