Posts Tagged 'leadership'

Flu Season Is Coming…But What About OCS Season?!

There is a disease…if you catch it, it is professionally fatal.  I call it “old client syndrome” but you might also call it “old team member syndrome” or “old church member syndrome” and it can bring down your best team members or even you if you are not watching for it.  Old Client Syndrome or OCS for short is when things are growing; but your older clients or someone on your team can’t embrace the future simply because it’s different than before.  Comments like, “I used to just be able to do it the way I wanted…” and “I remember when I used to just be able to get it done without having to get permission…” are symptoms of OCS. 

The ironic thing about OCS is that clients or team members don’t have to have been around that long to catch it; just long enough to get attached to the old way of doing things.  One of the dangers of OCS is that it is invisible to the person that catches it.  Left untreated, the person with OCS can allow a bitterness to start to develop.  And as more and more change occurs, they slip further into the OCS coma…

The worst thing that often develops in a severe case of OCS is that a new person joins the team…a new person with no attachment to the old ways…a new person that has a good attitude about things and begins to excel and to generate new results using the new ways as the older, more senior member of the team slips further and further out to sea. 

As a leader, it becomes impossible to ignore the progression of the disease in your old client, team member or church member.  They continue to get bogged down while your new clients continue to thrive.  And often times, you end up losing your old client or team member as they walk away telling you that you have treated them unfairly by asking them to live up to the new standard.  And in many cases, it is time to be big enough for both of you and let the person go before things get too bad.

There is one cure.  First, a brotherly direct acknowledgement of the condition has to happen.  Second, there must be a conscious decision to be an “eternal new guy on the team”.  This means that without abandoning the principles that are important, you are willing to abandon the processes that you used before.  That when things are growing and you get asked to change cubicles for the third time, that you do it quickly and enthusiastically.  That when younger people come on board with new talents, that you are the first one to show them around and acknowledge their strengths.  That when your leader asks you to buy into well thought out changes that allow your team to win at the next level, you not only agree; but that you sincerely buy in and cheer others on to do the same.

Take Away:  Refuse OCS thoughts and determine to be an eternal new guy with your attitude.

“A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past, he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future.”  ~ Sidney J. Harris

“Processes change.  Philosophies & principles don’t change.”  ~ Dave Ramsey

“Everything has its limit.  Iron cannot be educated into gold.”  ~ Mark Twain

Great Customer Service Siting: Mapco

Here in middle TN, hurricane Gustav has caused a gas shortage.  Very few stations have any gas.  The ones that do have extremely long lines, policemen directing traffic and even breaking up fights. 

So I set out a little after 7:00 am on Saturday to hunt down some gasoline.  I found a Mapco near my house that had gas, along with two long lines of cars coming from two different sides of the station.  I got in line. 

Now let me paint a picture for you…  There are twelve pumps.  Cars are lined up maybe twenty cars back in each line.  One line of cars comes from the front of the station, one from the rear entrance.  Different cars have tanks on different sides, adding to the chaos.  Even when your turn arrived, gas trickled out very slowly.  People are not quite themselves.  There is just something about 9 out of 10 gas stations being out of gas that gives you an eerie feeling.  There is also a very good chance that the station could run out of gas while you are in line or even once you start pumping your gas and you have to start the process all over.  I was prepared for the worst.

But I want you to know that Mapco had two employees out early in orange vests.  They weren’t just directing traffic, they were in charge.  They were smiling.  They were shouting updates to each other from different sides of the parking lot.  “You’ve got room from two over here!”,  I would hear.  Air traffic controllers had nothing on these two Mapco employees.  They were talking to people in the line, letting them know their turns were coming and which pump they would go to.  People weren’t fighting, or even cutting each other off in line.  They were laughing and talking about the day’s events. 

It was really an enjoyable process to watch these two Mapco employees take charge, that instead of dreading the next four or five hours until they ran out of gas, they stepped up with enthusiasm.  They set expectations and met them.  People in line knew their turns would come and that they didn’t need to push their way through to get treated fairly.  Not only was I impressed with their teamwork and attitudes, but it reminded me that even in situations where emotions are volatile and their is a tinge of fear in the air, people respond to leadership that is confident and enthusiastic.

Take Away:  In volatile or uncertain situations, take your communication skills up a notch and people will follow your lead.


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