www.stevesavage.com ι April 2010

The other night a group of twelve of us went to Maggiano’s for dinner. My wife and I have been to Maggiano’s many times and have always enjoyed their food and service. We all were looking forward to a pleasant evening with great food.

We got seated and looked at the menu. We all had ONE choice – the FAMILY dinner for $27.95. Yes, there were a few different combinations, but we all had to spend $27.95 and were forced to have a certain selection of salads, main dishes and desserts. Some of us did not want salad. Some of us did not want dessert. Some of us wanted other things on the menu.

We talked to the manager of the restaurant. He was helpless. He was unable to make a decision. He was merely a pawn in a corporation which had created a stupid rule in a far-off boardroom. If there were TEN people at one table we had to do the FAMILY dinner. The solution was to split up into two groups. Eight of us could go to one table and four could go to another. We did that and everyone ordered precisely what they wanted.

We were angry at Maggiano’s but we were a bunch of sales-oriented people so we agreed to have a positive attitude and a few laughs.

We told each other that if Nelson Mandela could forgive his captors after 28 years in prison we could forgive Maggiano’s. We had fun, but we will never again organize a group dinner at Maggiano’s.

What kinds of silly rules does your organization have? And do your local managers have the power to make decisions that make sense? If that manager had been empowered to make a decision, he would have let us order what we wanted. We would have liked the restaurant and come back for more. We would have recommended Maggiano’s to our friends. The waiter would have gotten a bigger tip. Everyone would have won.

Remember two key Savage Strategies to running a successful business:

1. Eliminate rules
2. Drive decision-making down

© Copyright 2010, Stephen Savage