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How To Follow The Wise Leader’s Way (The Story of Andrew Lim)

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I’ve vlogged (i.e. video blogged) about the Wise Leader’s Way, a simple 3-step formula to turn you into a more successful leader.

This real-life case study shows you another example of the Wise Leader’s Way in action.

I had a sushi lunch yesterday at a Sakae Sushi, a Singapore-based “trendy, quick-service kaiten (conveyor belt) sushi concept that has become synonymous with a fun-filled, value-for-money and healthy dining experience.” (as quoted from their website)

I expected and got a tasty meal at a fair price.  What I didn’t expect was a refreshing example of the Wise Leader’s Way.

Putting ‘Service’ Back In ‘Customer Service’

As we stepped up to the front door of the restaurant, we were greeted with a warm smile by a gentleman in a light gray shirt, dark dress pants and a tie.  He motioned us to follow a server to our table.

Minutes later, we noticed him talking to a server who was new on the job.  He told her what it meant to work in the service industry, and how being more attentive at her job would go a long way.

We enjoyed stellar customer service from start to finish.  When my dining companion choked on a piece of wasabi, he was by our side in seconds with a glass of lukewarm water and words of care and concern.

For us, this is an extremely rare sight in local food & beverage outlets.  We’re more used to seeing wait staff get scolded or shouted at for not doing their job well, and non-attentive servers are often the norm.  This was a breath of fresh air.  We had to learn more.

“Every work encounter can be a teaching moment for your staff.  Use it wisely.” – Maya Mathias Click To Tweet!

How Andrew Lim Used the 3-Step Wise Leader’s Way

1. What’s Really Going On?

We chatted with the gentleman in between our main course and dessert.  He told us his name (Andrew Lim), that this was his first full week as an area manager at Sakae Sushi, and that he was at the restaurant to learn more about how the business worked.

With several years of experience in the food & beverage industry under his belt, Andrew had developed strong ideas about what it means to serve the customer.  Unlike many food outlets that seemed to only be interested in ‘going for the kill’ and pushing as many menu items onto the customer as possible, Andrew had come to realize that a great customer experience meant more repeat visits and, eventually, much greater customer lifetime value.

Andrew wisely put himself in his customer’s shoes and wondered “Why and how does great customer service impact the bottom line?  And what can I do to nurture excellent service?”

2. What Alternatives Are Available?

After considering the many ways this could be accomplished, Andrew had decided to lead by example and use any instance of a poor attitude as a teaching moment.  He believes that change happens one server at a time, one restaurant at a time, and he was willing to guide young staff members on their career path in the food & beverage industry.

3. What Would His Role Model Do?

We didn’t chat about Andrew’s specific role models, but it was clear from his words & behavior that he admired managers who

  • lead from the front by modeling the actions they want to see and inculcate
  • believe in nurturing and serving customers for the long haul
  • focus on using the human touch with customers and coworkers

How have these beliefs served Andrew?  They have propelled him into a managerial position in the industry, and he dreams of one day opening his own restaurant to serve up healthy doses of customer service that sells.  With his focused dedication, I know he will succeed and wish him the very best.

Like this story?  Does it help you appreciate the Wise Leader’s Way even more?  How will you use the Wise Leader’s Way in your job?  Share your thoughts & results in the comments below.

Photo from sakaesushi.com.sg

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About the author: Maya loves life in the innovation lane. An avid student of life, learning & leadership, she has worked and lived on 3 continents, bringing her globally-minded flair to her clients and personal passions.

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