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©2017 by Colin Gold

When the poop hits the fan!

April 11, 2019


I am not one for patience. Those of you who know me understand — especially Laura, my wife and Madyson, our daughter.


To recenter, I often refer to the words of the famous Jedi Knights, Qui-Got Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi…Patience young Padawan.


There is a point to all of this.


I picked up a rental car for a business trip recently, at a reputable local rental car agency.  When I walked in, there was already a line and, I knew I was going to be there for a while. As a student of customer experiences, I notice everything that was going on, mostly to my family’s dismay. But I was alone, so I was good to go.


The young man behind the counter, who was dutifully trying his best to assist everyone promptly, was given far more than he could handle. Let me paint the picture.


* There were three people in front of me, who were picking up their rental.

* Two people were dropping off their cars.

* A family, who had already rented a vehicle, but who needed to ensure their 19-year-old granddaughter could drive the car as well, and this required extra paperwork.

* The phone was ringing off the hook.

* And of course, the young man behind the counter, was also the person responsible for cleaning and prepping the out-going rentals.


I have to acknowledge his tenacity and drive.  This young man was soldiering on and doing the best he could. I give him a lot of credit, as I don’t know if I would have been so graceful under the pressure he must have been feeling.


I don't know how long I waited.  I never checked my watch.  Had I known how long I had actually been in line, I would have even more irritated.


After I finally made it to the counter, the young man and I went outside to select the vehicle, I asked him, where was his help?  He replied, quite professionally, his manager was on vacation, and his co-worker had a family emergency.


Wow, he was hung out to dry.


Now let us look at this as leaders:


How long will this young man remain in this position, if this type of stress continues?


His well-being and longevity was the first thing that came to mind. He was handling the situation well. However, there will be a breaking point, and this talented young man will be working for someone else. In this time of lower unemployment, to retain our best talent, we need to do everything we can to make sure we are providing a supportive work environment.


Now this was a big company, and I know there are other resources in the area, why didn’t he have a backup?


Did he not inform anyone of what was going on?   If so, did no one listen?


His well-being was my first concern, as a leader looking in from the outside.


What about the other customers?


What if they weren’t as patient as I was? (LOL) Would they be repeat customers?


What about those people calling on the phone, who were not assisted? Did they go elsewhere?


As you can see, there are many ripples to this one incident on a random Monday afternoon, and I did not see many positive outcomes.


When I worked in hotels, we always created plans to assist the other departments. Whether it was greeting people at the front desk, stripping beds for the housekeepers to make their day a bit easier on busy days, bussing tables in the restaurant or hauling away tables and chairs in banquets, everyone knew they were expected to call for assistance when we were slammed. It was part of our culture. As a result, we consistently developed back-up plans for the sake of our team members and our guests, as our goal was always to provide the best experience possible.


Do you have a back-up plan for all of your team members, in case the SH** hits the fan? If not, it may be time to develop one.


As always, please let me know your thoughts Email me at

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