Merge's Blog

Give people the tools they need to get the job done!

Dessert_SableLast weekend I attended a dinner with several colleagues at an upscale restaurant in downtown Chicago.  Because we were a large group of about a dozen people, our meeting planner had pre-arranged the menu with all the courses coming to the table “family-style”.  If you’re not familiar with this phrase, it simply means that instead of the meals being individually plated, they’re brought to the table in large serving bowls or platters and then passed around for everyone to help themselves … sort of like you might do at the family dinner table.  The food was not only delicious, but also beautifully presented.  In fact, you can see two of the desserts in the photo.

But there was one problem!  Every single dish was brought to the table without a serving spoon.  Despite our repeated requests, the wait staff kept forgetting and we had to ask again and again.  The first time around, we were able to use our personal cutlery, but once we’d had our first taste of our delicious dinner, a serving spoon for each dish became a necessity.  Time after time we had to ask, hoping in each instance that the staff would remember for the next dish, but it was not to be!  An otherwise agreeable meal was marred by the restaurant’s lack of attention to detail.  We couldn’t enjoy our dinner fully because each time we had to flag down a server to get us the serving spoons we needed in order to get our food on to our plates!

In many ways, last weekend’s dinner is not unlike what sometimes happens in the workplace.  Have you ever found yourself in a situation where “the prize” — whether it’s achieving sales quotas, reaching a project milestone, getting a promotion — is within reach, you can see it, but  you can’t get to it because you haven’t been given access to the right tools to do get things done?  It’s a very frustrating position to be in!  Are you making sure that your employees have access to the right tools to get their jobs done?  Why or why not?  Please add your Comments below.


  • Very good point, Merge. Great leaders identify difficulties and roadblocks and move them out of the way. By doing that, they create a path to success.


  • You’re so right Jim! But unfortunately I have seen situations where managers see obstacles but don’t take steps to remove them. This restaurant was a case in point. At least one of those servers should have seen that the lack of serving spoons was a repeated problem and done something to prevent it from happening again and again. True, our situation at the restaurant was hardly earth-shattering, but the analogy applies to much more serious situations.


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