One of the last places I wanted to be on Christmas Eve morning was standing six-deep in a checkout lane at a grocery store.
Yet, there I was in our local HEB, swimming in a sea of humanity.
Now, for the record, our household spends about the same amount of money each month at that HEB and three other store chains close to our home. (I don't want any other grocer friends angry at me for this commercial.)
As I was standing there, a familiar looking guy walked by and began bagging groceries in the lane adjacent to mine.
I quickly realized the new bagger was the President of HEB, Scott McClelland.
HEB is a sponsor of the Texans and Astros and he is constantly on TV in funny commercials with folks like JJ Watt, Deshaun Watson and Jose Altuve.
HEB is the largest private employer (not a small thing) in the state of Texas (not a small place) with over 100,000 employees.
I instinctively looked around for cameras, thinking a commercial was being filmed. There were no cameras. He wasn't there to pose for pictures or sign autographs.
No, he was there to bag groceries and thank folks for shopping their store. Folks began taking pictures and texting their friends.
When I reached the young cashier, I asked if having the president bagging groceries 10 feet from her made her nervous.
She matter-of-factly said, "Nah. Scott is cool. He's been here a bunch before."
That struck me as much as anything else.
I've been on more store (and branch) visits in my day than I can remember. Very senior management has accompanied me on many of these trips.
Quite often, it has seemed to me that frontline folks become a bit frozen and maybe a little apprehensive.
These visits were apparently seen more as inspections than supportive gestures.
That tends to be my first piece of advice upon leaving.
Even if leadership doesn't have enough time... in fact... because leadership doesn't have enough time... they need to get out into the field more.
For one, it shows teams that what they do matters to leaders they do not see every day.
Also, you almost always learn things during these visits that would never show up in a spreadsheet or report.
Whether you manage two or two thousand people, strive to invest more of your most valuable resources in them this year - your time and attention.
Financial Supermarkets, Inc.
Celebrating 35 years as the official provider of The Supermarket Bank®, Financial Supermarkets, Inc. is the nation’s leader for attractive, functional, and professionally designed in-store and storefront financial centers. Financial institutions of all sizes partner with FSI to efficiently expand their branch network as well as transform their branches to meet the needs and goals of their clientele and the institution itself. Our consulting services aid financial institutions in maximizing touch-points with their customers/members and company growth.