Culture Eats Vision For Lunch

photo[1]As a Host Team Pastor I naturally have this desire for people to have great experiences when doing business. In my world, one bad experience could mean someone decides to never give our church, or any church, another shot.

It’s no different in the market place, that’s why it’s so important we take hospitality seriously. In a world where we are visually attacked daily by thousands of brands, we must stop and ask ourselves, “What makes one company stand out from another?”

For local commerce, somewhere in the conversation the topic of how a business makes us feel when we walk into their store is a good place to start.

For example, Caley and I moved to Texas back in April and by my work is a grocery store. Really theres a bunch of grocery stores on my 6 mile trip to work every day; everything you can imagine is right at my fingertips… except for a Publix. They haven’t quite made it out this way yet.

There are tons of options, so its important the local stores do their best to stand out. But the day after I moved here I checked out one of the most convenient stores located geographically to my job.


Here were some of my experiences:

–The first time I walked into the store I was there to get something from the deli. As I approached the deli counter a customer was screaming towards the kitchen asking for help. NO ONE was around to serve him.

–Just recently I was pricing donuts for our Sunday Morning Experience and I was trying to find the the best deal. So I called this store and even though they make their donuts daily, when I asked about pricing for my order, the exact words of the employee was, “I’d recommend you not order them from us.” I almost laughed because I thought she was kidding. They supplied the product but didn’t want to the hassle of a large order.

–On another occasion, when my father was in town, we wanted some boiled peanuts. A true gift from the south. So we called everyone to see if they had any raw peanuts available. When we called this particular store and after a good wait on the phone, the employee informed us we would have to call back tomorrow because the produce manager had went home for the day. Not really sure why someone couldn’t walk over and check the produce area out or type the word “peanut” in their database to see what they had available, but that was the experience.

–I kept giving them a shot because I desire to see our local commerce thrive. On another occasion I was grabbing some bananas for our Sunday Morning setup. I was purchasing about a hundred of them and I asked about the process of ordering a crate of bananas that would be ready for pickup instead of having to deplete their stock and go through the hassle of having to find ripe bananas. The manager on duty said they could “try to help me out” but he kept letting me know it “probably wouldn’t work out.” “We will try – but I can’t promise anything.”

I hate seeing this because somewhere is a store manager or regional manager desiring to see their team flourish but somewhere bad leadership is winning the day.


Two reflections:

1. Culture is everything. The culture we create for our business or church is what ultimately gets learned and repeated over and over again. John Maxwell teaches “Culture eats vision for lunch.” You can share a great vision all you want but what is seen is what gets repeated. Culture is what we say and what we do.

“People do what people see.”- John Maxwell.

When a culture is healthy, people will do what is right because they have seen it lived out. For this grocery store, far too many people have seen bad culture lived out.

2. Nothing is more important than people. No matter our job title or place of business, we are all in the people business. At the end of the day it’s what people think and feel when they walk into our business that directs their future interactions with us. That’s why I go to Starbucks even though I don’t “love” their coffee. I “love” how I feel when I go and the service I get while there. If people don’t leave feeling like they had a good time or they were cared for they will take their business else where.

People come first. Not a product.

  • At the end of the day it’s about how we feel that directs our next purchase. 

How will we make those we interact with “feel” today?
  • Will they be a better person after being around us?
  • Will they leave our companies feeling blessed?
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