Last week I had two very different experiences.

On Thursday I stopped in an office where I encountered a receptionist straight out of Monsters, Inc.

She sat behind her glass window with two holes–one for our voices and one for my money.  I began to talk with her and realized very quickly with the maintenance man and his industrial-sized vacuum running behind me it was going to be very difficult to hear her.  So, I expressed that… politely.

To which she simply gave me a flippant hand gesture and mumbled, “Well, then come closer.”

Then, on Friday, I flew from Pittsburgh to Detroit with a layover in Chicago’s Midway airport.  I took Southwest Airlines, who apparently have a large base out of Midway.  When I landed in Chicago I walked through the terminal to my next gate and saw a line of people parked in front of a table.  Just at their feet was a sign that said simply, “Free Face Painting – St. Patrick’s Day!”
As I grabbed a bite to eat in the airport these two incidents came together in my mind.  One very negative, and one very positive.  And you know what the reality was for these organizations?

The difference in my experience barely cost them anything.

Great service and great leadership are not a problem of lacking resources.  It’s a problem of lacking effort.

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