Do your employees think like owners?

10050408 It was Mother’s Day last week, so I, like millions of others, ordered flowers.    So I wasn’t all that surprised to get the phone call saying "The flowers are beautiful, thank you."

I was surprised however at the next sentence.  "Did you mean to order two identical bouquets?"

Uh no.

Two identical bouquets were delivered.  Identical cards.  Actually delivered by the same person at the same time.  And apparently no one along the way stopped to ask why. 

When I called the florist to see what was up — the customer service rep checked.  Their records showed only the one order.  She couldn’t explain the duplication.  Her response — "I have no idea how that happened.  Tell her to enjoy both bouquets."

Think of all the people who touched the order.  The person who created the bouquets.  The person who wrote out the cards (I ordered online).  The person who scheduled the deliveries.  The person who packed the truck.  The delivery person.

Not one of those employees stopped to think how odd it was that the same person would get two of the exact same bouquets, with identical cards, from the same person.

So the florist is out a $75 bouquet.  They look like their systems and delivery process needs some work and this story will be told and re-told.

All because an employee didn’t stop to wonder why.  Or pick up a phone to double check.

The most important audience your business will ever have are your own employees.  If they don’t get it — no one will.  They deliver the brand every day.  Or not.

10050408_2 Do a spot check today.  Create a "what if" customer problem scenario and ask around.  How would your employees handle it?  Is it true to the way you want your customers to experience your brand?

How often, without you even knowing, are you creating a talkable moment by delivering two bouquets?

8 comments on “Do your employees think like owners?

  1. Karin H. says:

    Hi Drew

    Great story! And close to my heart too. Hope this doesn’t sounds like bragging, but in the company I worked for many year ago, I’ve been told off many times for just doing that!
    “Mind your own business, this is not something your department is involved with, are you checking up on us?”
    Or even worse: “Then this or that department should have checked their records better, nothing to do with us. It says so on the order!”

    So, does your employer allows you as employee to think as owner 😉 Very important that both questions are answered at the same time.

    Karin H. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business)

  2. Mark True says:


    Your story made me laugh…years ago, I was on the road working for a trade magazine. It was cold, cold night in Michigan (or was it Wisconsin?) and I didn’t want to go out to dinner, so I ordered a pizza from an unknown-to-me joint called Little Ceasars Pizza. The driver came to my motel room door, delivered this long package and I paid for my order. When I opened it up and found TWO pizzas, I was perplexed. So, I called them to tell them they made a mistake and I had somebody else’s pizza. They said, kindly, “Sir, everybody gets two pizzas!” I was even more perplexed upon hearing that.

    Later, I found out this was the home of “Pizza. Pizza.” and it was their gimmick.


  3. Jeff Gwynne says:


    There maybe more to this story. While I think what happened is screwed up, controls (such as quality and order) cost money. So, maybe this type of problem in this particular ecosystem is not big enough to warrant an investment and education in order audit and control. Just a theory.


  4. Drew–

    Why can’t this ever happen at the bank?

  5. Karin,

    You make a valid point. In some organizations, doing anything independent is cause for discipline. And then those bosses wonder why they have high turn over!


  6. Mark,

    I remember those pizzas! Are they even around any more?


  7. Jeff,

    You could be right. But it seems to me that a 2 minute phone call to a pretty frequent and good house customer would be worth the investment.

    But, it was the Mother’s Day rush.


  8. Steve —

    So true, so true!


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