A Whopper of a Story: How to Avoid Sabatoging Your Organization

  1. Larry Hochman profile image59
    Larry Hochmanposted 10 years ago

    Picture this: a McDonalds restaurant in Southern Florida on a Saturday afternoon.
    One of the crew members, a typical young male teenager is on his break. He sits down at the dining room table getting ready to dig into his fast food meal. He takes out his Whopper and starts chomping.

    That’s right, I said Whopper, not Big Mac.

    On his break time, he headed across the street to Burger King, bought himself a big fat juicy Whopper, then sat down in the MCDONALDS dining room, and chowed down…

    …Burger King bag prominently displayed for all to see.

    I made eye contact and he said:

    “You think I’m going to eat the stuff that comes out of here?”

    Want to hear something else interesting? I watched this whole thing happen approximately 25 years ago, when I was a teenager. This was such a powerful memory that it stayed with me all these years.

    If I were the owner or district manager and walked in, I would have fired everyone in the store who had any management responsibility right then and there (not to mention the young Burger King fan.)

    How much brain power does it take to realize that your employees eating the competitors food in your store is bad for business?

    Of course, it goes deeper than that. Any organization that doesn’t have boundaries and guidelines is doomed.

    Whether it’s a family, multinational corporation or something in between, there needs to be some kind of structure. Some kind of expectations about what’s acceptable and what isn’t must be in place for it to survive.

    And of course there has to be rewards for those who contribute to the well-being of the team and consequences for those whose actions cause damage.

    But imagine how this burger mix-up situation must have come about. It doesn’t take a genius to know that it’s bad business to tell customers you’d rather not eat the food you prepare.

    This wasn’t just about poor management; this was a failure of LEADERSHIP.

    And it’s important to understand the difference. Leadership happens NOT when people do the right thing because it’s against the rules to do the wrong thing.

    Leadership happens when people contribute to the welfare of the group because they WANT to; because a leader (whether it’s the person with the title or not) set the tone for the group and became a role model for others.

    Leaders are leaders when the followers follow. I’ll bet that McDonalds was the poorest performing store in its area, if it still exists.

    And I’ll bet the management team at the time hasn’t achieved much in the way of career advancement, unless they had some kind of life-changing experience.

    Take a look at whatever group in which you have influence. Are people eager participants, willing to follow you as role model?

    Or are they just doing the minimum necessary to get by and not get in trouble?

    Or are they sabotaging you and the organization out of malice or neglect?

    Be aware of what’s going on around you, and within you.

    Look at your own attitudes and behaviors. Are you projecting what you’d expect and hope for from them?

    Eat your own food in your own restaurant. Be the person you want others to be.


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