Talent Development: The Other Coffee Machine


“A manager of an oil company went into work each day, going straight to his office, sitting at his desk and inspecting his emails. Through the course of the day he would leave his office, only on the occasion of a meeting or to grab a coffee from the coffee machine just outside his office.

"One day, he went out to get his coffee discovering the machine was broken and out of use. This then left him having to walk through his office of employees to reach the coffee machine at the other side. Each time he did this, the journey took him at least an hour and a half. Why so long?

Taking the opportunity to walk through his own team in order to get his coffee meant people started to interact with him, he finally had the chance to find out more about his employees and what was happening in his company. So, from then on even though the coffee machine outside his office was repaired he still took his one-and-a-half-hour journey to get his coffee each day.”

Could “The Other Coffee Machine” be the lesson you need learn when it comes to your leadership responsibilities?

Even the best leaders, develop habits that prevent them from leading. Distractions, emails, tasks, work! These all get in the way of leading, influencing, engaging and supporting your staff!

Here, the leader learned more about their business through having timely chats with different employees instead of hiding away in their office fixated to their screen. Whether these short conversations consisted of work, personal or social related topics they have brought more value to the understanding of the business than an exchanging of emails.

The nudge was all that was needed to make some imperative change, ending in the leader becoming more connected to their employees therefore understanding their needs.

Sometimes a life changing experience – the nudge - is all that is needed to alter your mindset, no matter how big or small it may be.

A broken coffee machine was the simple message needed to enable a leader to become more invested with their team.

A quick fix fueled by caffeine…. Simply taking time out your day to walk through your office can create an open communication culture with your employees, making a world of difference.

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