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What is Captain Cascade? Simply put, it means that the captain of the organization sets the tone that flows down through the ranks. Like a gorgeous Hawaiian water fall cascades down the mountainside, what it encounters at the top impacts its flow to the river. For example, there may be places where boulders stick out from the rock wall causing the water to break and crash differently. This is similar to the influence that people with negative attitudes can have on the flow of customer service in your business.
What does Captain Cascade have to do with service fatigue? Leaders, this one is for you especially. The tone of your business is set by the level of the attitude, empathy, compassion, accountability, integrity, and trust the members of your team have in you and each other. And that tone is all a reflection of YOU! Before you get defensive on me, or roll your eyes and tell me this doesn’t apply in your case, hear me out.
If we were having coffee together and I asked you to describe the work environment you wish was present in your organization but isn’t, what would you say? Are you willing to ask yourself some tough questions to determine if you are the boulder that impacts the way attitudes flow in your organization?
Several years ago, I had a meeting just like that with a bank President. Let’s call him Cash. He told me most of his staff do not arrive promptly, the community bank’s friendly attitude is absent, and their desire to wow the client and generate new business “just isn’t there.” In preparation for our event, I asked to talk to several members of the team confidentially, meaning I could ask what I wanted without having to report back to him what they said. They trusted me and I discovered something important. Across the board the team shared the following feedback:
Cash doesn’t come into the bank until mid-morning. He parks in the best slot near the staff door, walks directly to his office, closes the door and then summons people in for regular “chew outs.” (Their words, not mine.) He doesn’t attend staff social gatherings and rarely delivers annual evaluations on time or with supportive words.
The case study on Cash is much longer than this, but I think you get my point. He wanted the team to be prompt, friendly, and bank-focused, yet he didn’t do that himself.
For the event with the bank, I asked Cash to do three things, and he agreed. They were:
- Show up 20 minutes before the first person was scheduled to arrive.
- Greet everyone at the door with a smile, nod, and call them by name if he knew it.
- Attend the entire event like the rest of his staff, at a table (not bouncing from table to table or popping in and out of the room) and actively listening.
On the day of the event, he delivered as promised! In the bathroom later, I heard one woman on staff tell her colleauges, “Wow! What is up with Cash today? He is a like a totally different person!”
What happened next is an interesting twist to the story and comes with one of the best lessons I have on trickle down leadership. Join me on Friday, February 25th to see how it ends and the tough questions I want you to ask yourself to understand how attitudes cascade in your workplace.
Captain Cascade: when leadership sets the tone that trickles down to achieve the company culture you yearn for.