Leadership Lessons from the McDonalds Drive-thru

So, every once in awhile I will treat myself to breakfast at McDonalds on my way to work. Usually on a Friday like today. It’s always the same thing and its quite easy. They still got it wrong. I can only assume that somebody who was in front of me drove away and thus throwing the whole drive-thru matrix into a tailspin. What I wanted to point out was how It became clear to me and the assumptions we sometimes make.

When the lady first handed me a large drink instead of the medium I ordered I thought to myself, upgrade. Actually, I just thought that it was a minor oversight and not worth making a big deal over. As I was driving away I noticed it was a sweet tea, which I loathe. I thought to myself, It’s just the drink, no worries. They probably got the rest of my order right. I stopped and got some gas and set back out on my 45 minute drive to work and as I reached into the bag I finally realized that my whole order was wrong.

I know what you are thinking, I should have assumed that from the very first error with my beverage. You’re right, I should have. But how many of us leaders when adding volunteers, staff, direction, projects and a myriad of other things don’t apply this same principle?

We see things are off just a little and assume it was a simple oversight or we get to busy to address it. Before long we look at where we are and wonder how we ended up there, with the staff or volunteers we have. We wonder how the vision that started as one thing has become something very different altogether. It’s because we fail to recognize that something as simple as the wrong size beverage may be a sign that the whole meal is headed in a bad direction.