Donuts + Cookies + Pizza = Productivity?
Never underestimate the power of the three. You could call them the triumvirate of warehouse goodwill. When I was in my teens a gentleman that I worked with explained to me that people will almost always respond positively to food and that the meaning of eating together, although, underestimated by some is still deep in our human selves.
For several years I watched this man use the politics of the cookie tray, the power of the pizza and the dynamics of the doughnut not only on co-workers and associates but on guests and potential customers. Food moved people to do things without question and with pleasure. Brought out their warmer side, their better selves. People were receptive, respectful and talked to each other about their day, told stories and even recommended where to buy the doughnuts next time. For a small investment this man generated good will, teamwork and understanding.
The experience stuck with me and when it was my opportunity to lead on my way to that first 6:00am meeting with my team I stopped for 4 dozen doughnuts and 2 boxes of coffee. As I hoped the introductions and meeting went well and the relationship with my team grew from those cream filled and glazed management marvels.
Ever since I have carried the lesson with me that food comforts and equalizes and make it a point to build food for the teams in to my budget. An additional point to remember here that is so often forgotten, the time that your team works with you may be the best and safest time of their day. We the managers have the obligation to bring that to them. We ask for their cooperation and productivity in exchange for a clean, safe and secure environment away from what may be a difficult situation at home for a multitude of reasons. The doughnut isn’t just a do-nut and the pizzas are not just pizzas but may be the best meal they will get all week and be the fuel that keeps work friendships going. Think for a moment about what your hourly associate home life may be. Not yours, theirs. It’s not charity by any stretch but a way to form the bond and build the culture you want in your building and organization.
To quote James Beard “Food is our common ground, a universal experience” or maybe closer to the point to quote my grandmother “Who doesn’t feel good after they eat a cookie?”